Going Green With Water: Perceptions of Water Conservation by College Students in the Texas Panhandle
Eickhoff, Emma J
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This thesis explores perceptions of water conservation by college students in the Texas Panhandle. There is a lot of existing research about water conservation, but very few employ a qualitative approach. Most previous studies use surveys to examine what types of water conservation people engage in, measure people’s attitudes towards water conservation, and explore how much water can be saved by using more efficient household items and appliances. This type of research is important because groundwater levels specifically in the Ogallala aquifer are decreasing at a faster rate compared to the rates at which water is recharging. Lack of qualitative studies about water conservation inspired the qualitative approach choice of in-depth interviews for this study. Nine participants were interviewed to help provide insight into perceptions college students have about water conservation in the Texas Panhandle. The theoretical framework for this study was the theory of reasoned action which provided components that were vital in creating questions for in-depth interviews. A thematic analysis was used to identify the following themes: important but affordable, a way to save money, connection to the land, motivation from international communities, concern for the future, family, news/electronic media, and classroom. In addition to the themes above, the study concluded not all students had a full understanding of water conservation. Additionally, students knew very little about the water situation and issues in the Texas Panhandle.