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Tapping Into the Power of Behavioral Science

The water sector now employs behavioral science to persistently nudge households to use water more efficiently.

This important document will provide you with a detailed understanding of some common principles including:

  • The difference between descriptive and injunctive norms
  • The power of default options
  • The use of feedback, goal setting, and public commitments for greater engagement
  • Extensive research results supporting the use of behavioral science psychology in better resource management


The water sector now employs behavioral science to persistently nudge residential customers to use water more efficiently. This paper begins with an in-depth analysis of how social norms, a key element of behavioral science, have been used effectively in other fields, and how they can drive gains in water efficiency. It also discusses how several other key principles of behavioral science— default options, feedback, goal setting, and public commitments—can be applied strategically in the water sector.

Download the Behavioral Water Efficiency Infographic

Behavioral Water Efficiency Infographic Image