Water conservation is an important topic in Florida, and there are many in The Sunshine State who could be doing more to help conserve water. However, one of the most promising groups for water conservation targeting may be those who already conserve water in some measure, but who could stand to improve. According to a recent study led by Laura Warner, an assistant professor of agricultural education and communication with US/IFAS, those people who already conserve water but could do better are the best group to target when looking to increase water conservation.

Coined “water considerate consumers” by researchers, this group cares about water conservation but has not yet adopted all conservation practices available. Warner and her team surveyed over 1,000 Floridians to gauge their water usage practices and their perceptions of water conservation. The study was looking for new ways to encourage homeowners to conserve water better than simple information campaigns.

Surveyors found that respondents fell into one of three water usage categories: 36 percent were “water-savvy conservationists,” 45 percent were in the “water considerate” group and 19 percent were “unconcerned water users.” The largest group—the nearly 50 percent of respondents in the “water considerate” group—were open to water conservation, making them most likely to adopt additional practices to those they already use.

Lush, green lawns are highly desirable in most Florida neighborhoods, and water irrigation is necessary to maintain green lawns at certain times in the year in The Sunshine State. Certain practices can conserve water without compromising the attractiveness of the lawn, but some people—such as the “unconcerned water users”—don’t see the benefits in conserving water. They might not see how they can profit personally or they view changing their water usage behaviors as a sacrifice. The study proffered that “water-savvy conservationists” could be paramount in helping the two other groups made up of those who conserve less to learn better water conservation practices.