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Perceptions of Water Ownership, Water Management, and the Responsibility of Providing Clean Water
Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary AB T2N 4N1, Canada
Stream of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, Department Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary AB T2N 4N1, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 September 2013; in revised form: 8 November 2013 / Accepted: 11 November 2013 / Published: 19 November 2013
Abstract: Perceptions of water and water related issues still render many under-researched topics. This study aims to further our knowledge regarding people’s perceptions of water and our understanding about the different ways individuals use water. The authors asked the question: Does the way an individual perceives water (i.e., as a commodity, a human right, private resource, public resource and/or natural resource) influence consumption and conservation of water, and sentiments towards control and allocation of water? An exploratory online questionnaire was designed to generate qualitative and quantitative data of survey participants’ perceptions, beliefs and actions towards water issues, such as overconsumption and scarcity. Data analysis included comparison of the quantitative data regarding the non-statistical association between how an individual perceives water and the individual’s beliefs, as well as qualitative analysis of the comments using an iterative pattern coding technique. One hundred and sixty four individuals participated in the survey (75% completion rate) and over 430 comments were made. Themes that emerged from the comments included: responsibility, scarcity, the value of water, knowledge gained and education needed. Comparison of the different perceptions of water revealed that different perceptions of what water is resulted in different beliefs about what the cost of water should be. These findings have implications for future water use, including what needs to change in order to increase appreciation for water issues.
Keywords: water; attitudes; perceptions; water conservation; water consumption
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Noga, J.; Wolbring, G. Perceptions of Water Ownership, Water Management, and the Responsibility of Providing Clean Water. Water 2013, 5, 1865-1889.
Noga J, Wolbring G. Perceptions of Water Ownership, Water Management, and the Responsibility of Providing Clean Water. Water. 2013; 5(4):1865-1889.
Noga, Jacqueline; Wolbring, Gregor. 2013. "Perceptions of Water Ownership, Water Management, and the Responsibility of Providing Clean Water." Water 5, no. 4: 1865-1889.