Effects of water scarcity awareness and climate change belief on recycled water usage willingness: Evidence from New Mexico, United States

VMOST Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 66 (1):62-75 (2024)
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The global water crisis is being exacerbated by climate change, even in the United States. Recycled water is a feasible alternative to alleviate the water shortage, but it is constrained by humans’ perceptions. The current study examines how residents’ water scarcity awareness and climate change belief influence their willingness to use recycled water directly and indirectly. Bayesian Mindsponge Framework (BMF) analytics was employed on a dataset of 1831 residents in Albuquerque, New Mexico, an arid inland region in the US. We discovered that residents’ willingness to use direct recycled potable water is positively affected by their awareness of water scarcity, but the effect is conditional on their belief in the impacts of climate change on the water cycle. Meanwhile, the willingness to use indirect recycled potable water is influenced by water scarcity awareness, and the belief in climate change further enhances this effect. These findings implicate that fighting climate change denialism and informing the public of the water scarcity situation in the region can contribute to the effectiveness and sustainability of long-term water conservation and climate change alleviation efforts.

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