Analysis of consumer awareness of sustainable water consumption by the water footprint concept

Sci Total Environ. 2020 Jun 15:721:137743. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137743. Epub 2020 Mar 5.


The analysis of social awareness about water consumption represents an essential tool for water efficiency and decision-making procedures in line with the challenges that emerged by water scarcity. The present study focuses on evaluating the perception of sustainable water consumption (SWC), considering the direct and indirect water consumption through the Water Footprint (WF) indicator and the information about the nexus between urban services and water uses. Based on the norm activation model (NAM) proposed by Schwartz (1977), this research evaluates the perception of the water footprint of different aspects of water consumption and the dependence of this perception on individual water consumption, direct or indirect, and municipal services. The methodology applied to analyse the structural model was the Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). The sample is composed of consumers in the Extremadura region, Spain. The results of the survey show that SWC is influenced by Water Consumption Services (WCS), Indirect domestic Water Consumption (IWC), and Direct domestic Water Consumption (DWC). The model was tested at a confidence level higher than 99.9% with a moderated explanatory capacity (R2 = 55.7%). Besides, the model indicates the benefit of using WF as an activating tool for decision making highlighted in the NAM considered, in other words, the knowledge about WF influences positively in responsible behaviour with water consumption.

Keywords: Consumers; Domestic water consumption; Indirect water consumption; Urban water; Water conservation; Water footprint.