Water scarcity in the desert metropolis: how environmental values, knowledge and concern affect Las Vegas residents’ support for water conservation policy

Document Type



This paper examines important associations between environmental values, knowledge, concern and attitudes about water conservation policies in a desert metropolis. Specifically, we consider: (a) the combined influence of environmental value orientation, knowledge of drought conditions and concern about water use on support for water conservation policies; (b) the relative association of each individual variable on policy support; (c) factors explaining support to increase water prices and restrict water use; and (d) associations between socio-demographic factors and water policy support. Based on data from the 2009 Las Vegas Metropolitan Area Social Survey, we find that environmental value orientation, knowledge and concern are all significant predictors of water conservation, but concern stands out as the primary predictor for water policy support. Knowledge of drought conditions is the strongest predictor of support for water price increases, while concern predicts support for water use restrictions. We discuss theoretical implications and offer suggestions for water management, conservation and outreach.


Attitudes; Deserts; Droughts; Ecology; Environment; New Ecological Paradigm; Values; Water conservation--Government policy; Water—Management; Water Policy


Community-Based Research | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Desert Ecology | Sociology | Water Resource Management

UNLV article access

Search your library