WINNIPEG, Manitoba, September 5, 2007 -- Governments and utility managers across Canada and the United States have been actively promoting water conservation in an effort to optimize the operating lifespan of water infrastructure and water systems. How effective have these measures been in affecting behaviors at the household level?
According to a new national survey, the proportion of Canadian households engaging in a range of specific water saving activities has increased over the past two years. These findings emerged from a national telephone survey of Canadian adults taken by Probe Research Inc. between May 23rd and June 17th, 2006 among a random and representative sampling of 2,006 Canadian adults. Other survey findings reveal that while four-in-five Canadians routinely repair leaks in pipes and appliances quickly" (83%) or run household appliances only with full loads (80%), only one-half of the national population regularly participate in other water conservation activities such as restricting the watering of gardens to the evening (50%), limiting their shower time (49%), installing water efficient fixtures (49%) or not unnecessarily running taps (48%).
This research was conducted as part of Probe's third national syndicated drinking water survey entitled A Clear Perspective of Canadians and their Drinking Water, on behalf of subscribers from both government and private-sector organizations. Probe Research Inc. will be undertaking research in the United States this fall with its third national syndicated research study A Clear Perspective of Americans and their Drinking Water III. This research examines consumers' evolving attitudes and behaviors on issues such as water conservation, perceptions of drinking water quality, pricing, and public private partnerships.
As the graph above reveals, four of the six conservation practices tracked in this research show increasing numbers adopting these measures. According to Mary Lou Mendro, Probe's Director of Syndicated Studies, these shifts in consumer behavior are testimony to the success of water utilities at communicating the benefits of water conservation. "People are really starting to appreciate the role they can play at the household level when it comes to saving water. I'm really keen to see if our new survey in the U.S. will show the same advances we have seen in Canada."