Report shows more water conservation education needed for state of Texas
According to a new statewide poll recently commissioned by the Texas Water Foundation, only 28 percent of Texans indicated that they "definitely know" the natural source of their drinking water -- the same percentage as 10 years ago.
AUSTIN, TEXAS, Feb. 10, 2015 -- According to a new statewide poll recently commissioned by the Texas Water Foundation (TWF), only 28 percent of Texans indicated that they "definitely know" the natural source of their drinking water -- the same percentage as 10 years ago when the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) also commissioned a statewide quantitative study to measure consumer awareness levels, attitudes and behaviors related to water.
In addition to finding that 28 percent of those Texans were knowledgeable of their drinking water source, the 2004 research showed a strong connection between awareness of one's water source and one's willingness to conserve. Further, the TWF's new 2014 poll reveals that the percentage of people who know where their water comes from hasn't changed. In fact, this is also representative of a 2007 EnviroMedia survey revealing that most Americans are unfamiliar with the origins of their drinking water (see "Poll shows Americans don't know where their tap water comes from").
Following TWDB's 2004 poll, the state adopted the conservation campaign brand "Water IQ: Know Your Water," which tied knowledge of natural water sources to helpful conservation tips. While no state dollars have been used to fund a comprehensive Water IQ campaign in Texas, the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) has funded a regional Water IQ campaign every summer since 2006, providing an annual budget of $1 to 2 million.
Despite a population increase of 49 percent in the region since 2000, the NTMWD has curbed projected peak day consumption by 200 to 400 million gallons every summer since 2006. "North Texas represents a bubble of knowledge and the potential for increased education in a fast-growing state," said TWF Executive Director Carole Baker. "It's our hope that the Texas Legislature will look again at funding statewide conservation education this session. Our state can't afford to continue this patchwork approach to educating people about something as critical to our quality of life and economy as water."
In 2014, the TWDB awarded a grant to the TWF to conduct a 10-year follow-up to the baseline study. Both the 2004 and 2014 surveys were conducted by Baselice & Associates, with the most recent poll conducted among 1,103 adult Texans from October 5-20, 2014. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The 2014 survey shows that only 23 percent of Texans said they've seen, read or heard anything about what the state of Texas plans to do to meet future water needs.