Perceptions of Water Scarcity in Charlottesville, Virginia

Jackman, Skylar, Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Reidenbach, Matthew, Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Richter, Brian, Urban and Environmental Planning, University of Virginia

The crisis of water scarcity is becoming increasingly prevalent across the globe. Water shortages can be derivative of climate change induced rising temperatures and prolonged droughts, improper management of freshwater resources, inadequate water infrastructure, and a demand for water that exceeds the supply due to population growth. Specifically, water scarcity was an issue in the summer of 2002 in Charlottesville, Virginia. An extended drought caused the city and county water suppliers to set water use restrictions. The water shortages impacted the livelihoods of residents and caused a decrease in net economic output of local businesses. From that point forward, water supply planning was initiated to prevent future water scarcity in Charlottesville. Proving success, Charlottesville has not experienced significant water shortages since 2002.
To better understand the public perceptions of water shortages and the associated solutions, survey research is commonly conducted. Through the distribution of 156 questionnaires in Charlottesville, Virginia, the research presented discusses reactions, perceptions, and solutions for water scarcity by Charlottesville residents. The questionnaires were distributed through convenience sampling techniques of tabling and flyering. The results of the survey suggested that Charlottesville residents are more knowledgeable about water scarcity compared to national averages, Charlottesville residents are less likely to complete water conservation practices than those affected by water scarcity, Charlottesville residents are open to increased water conservation education, and Charlottesville residents may be willing to partake in indirect potable water reuse. The research suggests that Charlottesville is water abundant due to proper local institutionalized water management, paired with conservation measures by Charlottesville residents.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
water scarce, water shortage, wastewater reuse, direct potable reuse, perceptions, charlottesville, water abundant, water scarcity, water, water quality, climate change, global warming, drought, survey
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