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Quantifying the Influence Path of Water Conservation Awareness on Water-Saving Irrigation Behavior Based on the Theory of Planned Behavior and Structural Equation Modeling: A Case Study from Northwest China

1
School of Economics, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
2
Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
3
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4967; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184967
Received: 14 August 2019 / Revised: 7 September 2019 / Accepted: 7 September 2019 / Published: 11 September 2019
Water-saving irrigation behavior (WSIB) is important for sustainable economic and social development in river basins and is promoted by improving water-saving awareness. Understanding the factors of WSIB could facilitate water demand management and information campaigns. Using the theory of planned behavior, this paper analyzes the influence of subjective attitude, perceived behavioral control and subjective norms on behavioral intention and final behavior with a structural equation model (SEM). Moreover, comparative study of the upper, middle and lower reaches of a river basin is also carried out to examine the regional differences. A survey of 546 rural residents in Heihe River Basin (HRB), which is located in northwest China, shows that (1) water-saving expectations and subjective norms have a significant impact on WSIB in upstream areas, and perceived behavioral control and subjective norms have positive effects in the middle and lower reaches; (2) the transformation of awareness into WSIB is slow and non-significant in all areas, mainly hindered by expected economic benefits; and (3) family water-saving experiences and social networks promote WSIB in the midstream and downstream areas. Compared with the midstream and downstream reaches, historical water-saving experience has no obvious effect on WSIB in the upper reaches. These findings highlight policies that (1) strengthen economic interests and increase the transformation of water-saving awareness into WSIB; (2) strengthen public awareness and neighborhood interaction, setting good examples to promote WSIB; and (3) increase farmer participation in relevant decision-making. View Full-Text
Keywords: water-saving awareness; water-saving irrigation behavior; influence path; theory of planned behavior; structural equation model; Heihe River Basin water-saving awareness; water-saving irrigation behavior; influence path; theory of planned behavior; structural equation model; Heihe River Basin
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Zhong, F.; Li, L.; Guo, A.; Song, X.; Cheng, Q.; Zhang, Y.; Ding, X. Quantifying the Influence Path of Water Conservation Awareness on Water-Saving Irrigation Behavior Based on the Theory of Planned Behavior and Structural Equation Modeling: A Case Study from Northwest China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4967.

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