DEFRA water saving campaign: Evaluation research
Summary of findings
- One-third of the general public claimed to be aware of the water saving campaign, a significant uplift versus claimed awareness prior to the start of the campaign (31 per cent versus 24 per cent)
- Awareness of the campaign was broad in terms of reach across different demographic groups and levels were significantly higher amongst the targeted Defra segments (33 per cent for segments 1 to 4, versus 25 per cent for segments 5 to 7)
- The campaign attained good levels of overall recognition for the level of media spend (40 per cent, in line with norms), though press appears to have been less impactful than radio (16 per cent recognition versus 30 per cent radio) and slightly below norms
- Recognition was significantly higher amongst the targeted Defra segments (41 per cent versus 35 per cent)
- Despite good levels of awareness for the campaign, there was no shift in current and intended water usage behaviours. This would be expected at what was an early stage of the campaign and with these levels of media spend.
- Though there is some evidence of more positive water usage behaviour intentions amongst those recognising the campaign versus those not doing so. However this cannot be attributed to the campaign effects alone as these respondents tended to have more of a pre-disposition to environmentally caring behaviours per se than those not recognising the campaign
The overall aim of the research was to evaluate the success of the water saving campaign, by way of conducting a pre and post campaign measure, with options for conducting further waves of research over the next three to four years.
Specifically, the research assessed:
- Awareness and recognition of the campaign
- Attitudes and behaviour towards saving water in the home
- Differences in awareness and attitudes by segments being targeted from the Defra
- Attitudinal segmentation
The UK is becoming increasingly water stressed, with many areas already at their maximum abstraction levels. Water treatment, supply and heating all carry a high energy burden and therefore contribute to climate change. However, saving water is not seen as high priority by the general public compared to saving energy or other climate change issues. UK households use the bulk of water supplied in the UK, so their actions can make a significant difference to the sustainability of future water supplies.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ran a water saving campaign in late 2009. The aim of this campaign was to educate citizens that water is a valuable resource that needs to be conserved, and to encourage consumers to change their behaviour and adopt water saving measures.
The campaign targeted 4 Defra segments which account for 48 per cent of the adult population:
- Positive Greens
- Waste Watchers
- Concerned Consumers
- Sideline Supporters
Media plans were optimised against ABC1s aged 30 to 64 with children.
Media spend: Approximately £500, 000, in national and local press and local radio
Research was commissioned to evaluate a campaign to encourage consumers to change their behaviour and adopt water saving measures. Despite good levels of awareness for the campaign, there was no shift in current and intended water usage behaviours. This might be expected at what was an early stage of the campaign and with these levels of media spend.
Adults aged over 16 (with a bias towards 30- to 64-year-olds)
- Questions placed onto TNS face-to-face general public omnibus
- Nationally representative sample of adults aged over 16 in England
Data collection methodology
September - November 2009