Featured News How do Australians think about water?

Media Releases

Tue, 28 May 2019

How do Australians think about water?

Water being poured into a clear glass
Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

A James Cook University researcher wants to understand how Australians view water security and water conservation.

PhD student Madelyn Pardon is researching how Australians perceive threat in the context of water, and what that means for their water conservation behaviour.

“I’m interested in what contributes to the perception of threat and why that perception differs between individuals,” she said.

“Water security concerns are present in many communities and regions across Australia and I want to understand more about how people view it as an issue.

“For example, are people concerned about the lack of water itself? Or does their concern lie with the financial costs, or the community impact?”

Ms Pardon’s previous study focused on the perception of Townsville residents, and found that the level of threat perception didn’t necessarily predict water conservation behaviour.

“My results found that those who were highly threatened by the drought had very few intentions to conserve water,” she said.

“Typically, people who perceive a threat change their behaviour in response. However, when the threat becomes ‘too large’ this has a detrimental impact on behaviour.”

She now wants to understand if these perspectives reflect those of the Australian population, with the aim of making communication around water conservation more effective.

Residents from all over Australia are invited to participate in the online survey, which can be found via the Water Survey: Out of sight, out of mind? Facebook page.