Perspectives on Water Resources among Anishinaabe and Non‐Native Residents of the Great Lakes Region
Author: Andrew T. Kozich, Kathleen E. Halvorsen, and Alex S. Mayer,
Climate change and human population growth could reduce household water availability in the historically water‐rich Great Lakes region. It is critical to understand human‐water relationships in advance of policy actions that could result from reduced water supplies. Research on household water conservation typically occurs in a reactionary nature, in settings that are already water‐stressed. Furthermore, few studies involve Native American perspectives on this important topic. We used semi‐structured interviews to assess residents’ perspectives of Great Lakes water resources and views on household conservation, involving distinct samples of Native American and non‐Native residents. Although interviewees deeply value the region’s water resources, few practice household conservation or plan to do so in the future. Few perceive others in the region as conserving water. Beliefs about water‐related problems are focused more on water quality than supply. Native American interviewees expressed deeper spiritual values toward water than non‐Native interviewees. Findings can help inform policy and outreach strategies and provide a rich foundation for follow‐up quantitative research testing the Theory of Planned Behavior’s ability to explain household conservation intentions in the Great Lakes region.
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