This is just my thought, but no I do not think just telling people to do something works very effectively. People need real reasons that apply to themselves to make an action worthwhile for them. There will be the select few who will research the subject and decide if it’s worth conserving water, but we need to appeal to the masses who most likely will not want to or have the time to make that decisions. They should be given concise and direct facts about how water conservation helps them.
I think some people take it to heart. Conserving water can be as simple as taking a shower instead of a bath. It is actually not hard at all to conserve water, spreading awareness about the issue is really the most important part of it.
Because water is such an inexpensive commodity in the US, simply telling people to conserve doesn’t always inspire the action. It is difficult to enforce conservation in a way that won’t adversely affect lower income households. I have lived in a drought prone area in the San Francisco Bay Area before where the water company (EBMUD) used a tiering system to enforce conservation. Also, during widely publicized drought times, residents could receive fines for car washing and lawn watering. Unfortunately, now I live upriver from that delta in an area that does not experience the drought firsthand and conservation is much more difficult to encourage. I think changing water use practices in children is very important as well as changing social ideas such as green lawns in arid regions could impact water conservation habits.
With regards to Americans, at least, I think the best way to convince them of ANYTHING is to “hit them with the bottom line” -money spent or money saved. When you can provide a “before and after” scenario of how much money can be saved by conserving water, that is highly convincing -and not only to Americans, but to all people.
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