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Individual water: Water source as an indicator of attitudes about water management and conservation in rural regions


  • Kristin Cockerill
  • Pete Groothuis
  • Tanga Mohr
  • Courtney Cooper


Perceptions about water management are understudied, especially in humid regions. Yet as the population continues to grow and water demand increases, there will be a need to more closely manage water, even in humid regions. Understanding how people view water quantity, how they view paying for water supply, and how various geographic and demographic characteristics influence attitudes will be essential to managing water as a common pool resource. This project finds that among residents in rural western North Carolina there are strong correlations among water source (public supply vs. private well) and attitudes toward water management and conservation. There is a sense among these respondents that having access to an individualized water source segregates them from regional water concerns and they are therefore less likely to be willing to pay for water management or conservation measures. Additionally, those with an individualized source are more likely to believe that local or state government should not have the authority to manage what are perceived to be private sources. These results differ from a national survey, providing evidence that it may be prudent to assess attitudes locally / regionally before any attempt to implement water management or conservation policies. Key Words:

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  • Kristin Cockerill & Pete Groothuis & Tanga Mohr & Courtney Cooper, 2014. "Individual water: Water source as an indicator of attitudes about water management and conservation in rural regions," Working Papers 14-04, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:14-04

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    1. Pumphrey, R. Gary & Edwards, Jeffrey A. & Becker, Klaus G., 2008. "Urban and rural attitudes toward municipal water controls: A study of a semi-arid region with limited water supplies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-12, March.
    2. Steven B. Caudill & Peter A. Groothuis, 2005. "Modeling Hidden Alternatives in Random Utility Models: An Application to "Don’t Know" Responses in Contingent Valuation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 81(3).
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