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Household Adoption of Water Conservation and Resilience Under Drought: The Case of Oklahoma City

Tracy Boyer (), Patrick Kanza, Monika Ghimire and Justin Q. Moss
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Patrick Kanza: Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma, USA
Monika Ghimire: Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma, USA
Justin Q. Moss: Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma, USA

Water Economics and Policy (WEP), 2015, vol. 01, issue 02, 1-21

Abstract: Drought response management by utilities in the semi-arid Midwest has been less common outside of Texas than in the Western United States. In response to Oklahoma's unprecedented drought of 2012, Oklahoma City's Water Utilities Trust sought to identify the potential for targeting outdoor conservation education and other incentives such as rebates for low-flow toilets and soil moisture sensors for irrigation systems. This research uses a unique dataset that combines actual household consumption data and county assessor's data of house market value and characteristics with a survey of household conservation adoption of indoor and outdoor water conservation methods. Increased education, age, and income all were found to positively affect indoor and outdoor conservation adoption. Surprisingly neither higher summer consumption during severe drought, nor the perception of prolonged drought increased outdoor conservation adoption, but owning previously conserving Bermuda lawn did increase adoption. However, indoor adoption was higher for homeowners and those who expected prolonged drought. Results suggest that incentives should be targeted at low and average income homeowners and that education regarding the benefits of outdoor conservation should be targeted at all homeowners regarding the higher marginal benefit of seasonal reductions in outdoor watering.

Keywords: Indoor adoption; outdoor adoption; water conservation; customer preference survey; logit estimation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Working Paper: Household Adoption of Water Conservation and Resilience under Drought: The Case of Oklahoma City (2014) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1142/S2382624X15500058

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