Attitudes, behaviour, and engagement toward water consumption and conservation in a higher education setting
There is a need to develop more nuanced and playfully informed understandings of people’s attitudes and behaviour toward water consumption and conservation in particular settings, particularly if we are to design initiatives designed to engage and then change behaviour. The Southeast of England, in the United Kingdom, is an example of a water stressed region where better understandings have a potentially key role to play in helping to tackle the issue of water scarcity through attempts to reduce the personal consumption of water. Therefore, this paper presents the findings of a small-scale research project that sought to playfully engage participants in an exploration of their attitudes and behaviour toward water use in a university setting. In particular, an interactive questionnaire was designed whereby participants were encouraged to give their answers by placing counters in buckets of differently coloured water. From an awareness perspective, the study found that whilst females appeared to be more aware of their water usage, participants in general appeared to be unaware of retro fit programmes design to improve water conservation. As a result of these findings, it is suggested that future education campaigns better reflect the needs of different groups, particularly in communities with highly transient populations, such as those in University towns. From an engagement perspective, the interactive nature of the data collection was noted as appearing to be successful in encouraging engagement over time. In conclusion, it is suggested that such playful approaches to data collection and awarweness raising can be a useful in not only enaging but promoting a better understanding and awareness of water usage.