Water Conservation Awareness and Practices in Households Receiving Improved Water Supply: A Gender-Based Analysis

Citation:

Tong, Yan, Liangxin Fan, and Haipeng Niu. 2017. "Water Conservation Awareness and Practices in Households Receiving Improved Water Supply: A Gender-Based Analysis." Journal of Cleaner Production 141: 947-55.

Authors: Yan Tong, Liangxin Fan, Haipeng Niu

Abstract:

Adoption of water conservation practices (WCPs) is essential to save water. However, the factors that affect changes in behaviour related to water consumption remain unclear, particularly those related to gender differences and women's views towards WCPs. These factors often result in ineffective public policies. In this study, we analysed the effects of consciousness, perceptions and individual behaviour control towards WCPs, as well as the influence of gender (i.e. male and female) on residents' WCPs via a detailed survey of 622 residents (female: 318, male: 304) in rural northern China. Data were analysed using a one-way ANOVA and structural equation model. The respondents had a high degree of awareness of WCPs but reported low participation in WCPs, particularly among male users. Female users consumed twice as much water and adopted more WCPs than male users. Saving water bill was the main incentive for female users to practise WCPs, whereas that for male users was to alleviate water supply shortage. Daily routine changes and additional time and physical efforts were the main barriers for WCPs, particularly for male users. In addition, WCPs of male users were highly affected by individual behaviour control and attitude towards conservation, whereas for female users, WCPs were highly affected by expected results and social norms. The significant gender disparities in the results emphasise the need to ensure information transparency and communication across gender, users, and authorities in public policies and community programs to fix gender gaps and to enhance adoption of WCPs by the public.

Keywords: domestic water consumption, water-use behavior, gender disparity, survey, Rural China

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: China

Year: 2017

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