5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Anil Kumar Chaudhary
Session Name Poster Session - Policy & Behavior Change
Poster Number 28
Author(s) Anil Kumar Chaudhary,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  Laura Warner,  University of Florida
  Tatiana Borisova, University of Florida
  Michael Dukes, University of Florida
  Sebastian Galindo-Gonzalez , University of Florida
  Conducting Economic Analysis of State Extension Programs Using a Standard Evaluation Tool
  Water is a scarce resource in the U.S., and stress on this resources is heightened by a growing population, urbanization, and change in climate (Adams et al., 2013; Wolters, 2014). Florida is reputed for its pleasing landscapes, and the state’s residents pump thousands of gallons of water to maintain their landscapes, consuming 61% of the public supply water for irrigation (Baum, Dukes, & Miller, 2005; Haley, Dukes, & Miller, 2007; Monaghan, Ott, Wilber, Gouldthorpe, & Racevskis, 2013). To reduce stress on water resources in Florida, conservation of water is an immediate answer. UF/IFAS Extension takes this issue seriously and delivers a number of programs to encourage water conservation among Florida residents. However, evaluation of these programs to showcase their impact is a challenge. To address this, a team of researchers and Extension professionals developed a standard evaluation tool. To establish validity and reliability of tool, a pilot test was conducted to measure intended and actual reported landscape water conservation behavior change. Based on pilot test results, changes were made to the final instrument. The pilot test results indicated that there is some difference between behavioral intentions and actual behaviors adopted. Economic evaluation of actual behaviors adopted was conducted using Boyer and Dukes’ (2015) potential water savings table and Raftelis Financial Consulting (2014) report. Based on 23 six-month follow-up participants, overall savings corresponding to actual behaviors adopted was 52,106 gallons of water per month and this water savings is equivalent to $241.25 monthly water bill savings. Additionally, this quantity of water saved corresponds to a $104.21 savings on water delivery costs to Florida water utilities. Overall, several lessons were learned while developing the standard evaluation tool. Standard evaluation tools are needed in era of complex funding, strict accountability requirements, and need to report impact of programs in terms of behavior change.