The availability of fresh water affects public health and living standards around the globe, yet water resources are being rapidly depleted by unsustainable human activities. Strained freshwater resources will perpetuate unless the public is made aware of the severity of water scarcity issues. Audience segmentation, used frequently by environmental communicators to target unreached groups, is a social marketing strategy that segments audiences with shared characteristics to inform the development of effective communication messages. The purpose of this study was to determine characteristics of audience segments based on their level of water conservation behaviors. An online survey of the United States general public captured levels of water conservation behaviors based on how consumers prepare to vote on policy and intent to engage in water conservation behaviors. Cluster analysis resulted in two audience segments: lower water conservation and higher water conservation. Further analysis indicated significant demographic differences between the segments. The lower water segment presented less education, more moderate or conservative political beliefs, and lower family income levels than the higher water segment. Communication messages for the lower water segment should align with these characteristics, including using less scientific verbiage, linking moderate and conservative perspectives with water conservation, and emphasizing economic gain/loss.
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