Self-reported and actual savings in a water-conservation campaign
Data from a survey questionnaire and from water utility billing records are used to compare self-reported and actual water savings for 471 households during a conservation campaign. Self-reports are only weakly related to actual changes in water consumption. Errors are widespread, and not wholly random: The accuracy of self-reports increases with household socioeconomic status and with the extent of conservation behavior. The large and nonrandom error component makes self-reports questionable as a proxy for objective measures of overall water savings in conservation research. Because knowledge about water use is both generally low and related to conservation behavior, informational feedback may be a particularly effective strategy for increasing conservation. The effectiveness of this feedback may increase with social class, however.
Environment and Behavior
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Hamilton, L.C. 1985. “Self-reported and actual savings in a water-conservation campaign.” Environment and Behavior 17(3):315–326.
© 1985 Sage Publications, Inc.