Warner, L.A., Chaudhary,A.K., Lamm, A.J., Rumble, J.N. & Momol, E. (2017). Using home irrigation users’ perceptions to inform water conservation programs. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(3), 101-119. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.03101
Targeted agricultural education programs can play a role in solving complex water issues. This article applies importance-performance analysis to examine dimensions of water resources that may inform local water conservation campaigns in the United States. The purpose of this study was to generate a deep understanding of home irrigation users’ preferences and perceptions about water to inform landscape irrigation water best practices campaigns among this audience nationwide. Importance-performance analysis was conducted using quantitative survey research. Responses were drawn from 2,675 people who use home landscape irrigation in all states nationwide and from three areas experiencing serious water issues: Florida, California, and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. There were differences among respondents as a function of geographical location, which revealed people are likely influenced by their exposure to and experience with water issues. There were significant differences between respondents’ perceived importance with clean water for different purposes and plentiful water for different purposes. We identified gaps between importance of and satisfaction with clean and plentiful water for different purposes which demonstrate dissatisfaction around important water topics, such as clean water for local and large water bodies. The findings provide insight for targeted programs surrounding local needs and issues. Agricultural education professionals who work on water issues should emphasize home irrigation users’ influence on water quality issues over water quantity issues, and should incorporate locally specific findings into programs.