Publication Details

Dolnicar, S. & Hurlimann, A. (2010). Australians' Water Conservation Behaviours and Attitudes. Australian Journal of Water Resources, 14 (1), 43-53.


The Australian water crisis can be addressed in many ways: ranging from increasing water conservation behaviours to minimize demand, through to producing water through large scale water augmentation projects. Due to the extended drought experienced in many locations across Australia in recent years, there has been a recent focus on developing wastewater recycling and seawater desalination plants. While this is an important measure for emergency water supply, water conservation should still play a major role in reducing demand for water. The aim of this study is to provide much-needed empirical data about Australian attitudes towards water conservation, and their water conservation behaviours. This market insight provides a knowledge basis for the development of public policy measures and social marketing campaigns aimed at increasing water conservation among Australian residents. Results from a survey study of 1495 people indicates that Australians generally have very positive attitudes towards water conservation and water saving appliances, however these positive attitudes are not consistently translated into actual behaviour. The main barriers to adoption of water conservation behaviours identified in the study are: the perception of inconvenience and impracticality, as well as costs associated with purchasing water saving appliances. These findings highlight the fact that there is still substantial potential to be harvested in Australia though water conservation measures. Opportunities for public policy makers to stimulate this process are identified.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Australian Journal of Water Resources