First Advisor

Heejun Chang

Term of Graduation

Spring 2019

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Earth, Environment, & Society


Earth, Environment, & Society




Water consumption -- Oregon -- Clackamas River Watershed -- Case studies, Consumers -- Attitudes, Wellhead protection -- Oregon -- Clackamas River Watershed -- Costs, Water conservation, Willingness to pay



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 134 pages)


Fresh water resources around the globe are under threat of diminishing supply and quality due to rapid population growth, climate change, drought, and waste. This dissertation aims to address the protection of fresh water at the source, the tap, and how water customer attitudes influence protection and conservation using a watershed-wide lens. Using the Clackamas River Watershed which resides within the Portland Metropolitan Area (PMA), I seek to investigate water customer attitudes towards a source water protection program and their willingness to pay to support such an endeavor, attitudes and behaviors that result in household water conservation, and an exploration of the attitudes and spatial distribution of unique distinct groups of water customer, referred to as customer types. I address the interplay of attitudes, behavior, and conservation through social surveys, statistical analysis, and spatial analysis. I demonstrate that certain attitudes towards climate and water conservation are significant predictors of support for source watershed protection and increased household water conservation. These attitudes are also primary drivers of the segmentation of water customers into unique types. This dissertation provides a valuable two-fold lesson serving as a catalyst for watershed protection and water conservation programs by providing the knowledge base for initiating outreach and social engagement campaigns. In addition, this work provides a model for attitudinal and behavioral exploration of a population that should be applied and tested in other geographic contexts. Further increasing our understanding of critical precursors necessary to initiate protection and conservation programs is a step towards promoting the resilience and sustainability of our precious fresh water systems.


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