Mitigating agricultural diffuse pollution: uncovering the evidence base of the awareness-behaviour-water quality pathway

Murat Okumah*, Pippa J Chapman, Julia Martin-Ortega, P Novo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA) is a major environmental issue worldwide causing eutrophication, human health problems, increased water treatment costs and reducing the recreational potential of water bodies. In addition to penalties and provision of incentives, policy efforts are increasingly focusing on raising land managers’ awareness regarding diffuse pollution under the expectation that this would influence behaviours and thus increase uptake of best management practices that would, in turn, improve water quality. Given the multimillion financial investments in these awareness-focused approaches, a good understanding of the awareness–behavioural change–water quality pathway is critical to set the basis for assessing the real potential of these policy interventions. We systematically review the evidence across the full pathway drawing on published peer-reviewed papers from both the social and natural sciences, with a focus on Europe and North America. Results indicate that there is no one study that looks at the pathway in full, evidencing the paucity of research on the topic. For the limited studies that focus on the different components of the pathway, we find mixed evidence for the relationship between awareness and behaviour, and behavioural change and water quality. Furthermore, complexity within the pathway (e.g., through the study of factors mediating and moderating such relationships) has hardly been addressed by the literature. An in-depth understanding and analysis of this complexity—through an integrative model covering the entire pathway—could help in the design and implementation of effective policy strategies to encourage best land management practices and ultimately improve water quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29 - 47
Number of pages19
JournalWater
Volume11
Issue number1
Early online date24 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 24 Dec 2018

Fingerprint

water quality
policy strategy
best management practice
environmental issue
water pollution
land management
eutrophication
management practice
incentive
water treatment
agriculture
cost
diffuse pollution
policy
Europe
human health
land
penalty
social science
North America

Keywords

  • Best management practice
  • Diffuse water pollution
  • Environmental knowledge
  • Land management
  • Pro-environmental behaviour
  • Water resource management

Cite this

Okumah, Murat ; Chapman, Pippa J ; Martin-Ortega, Julia ; Novo, P. / Mitigating agricultural diffuse pollution: uncovering the evidence base of the awareness-behaviour-water quality pathway. In: Water. 2018 ; Vol. 11, No. 1. pp. 29 - 47.
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abstract = "Diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA) is a major environmental issue worldwide causing eutrophication, human health problems, increased water treatment costs and reducing the recreational potential of water bodies. In addition to penalties and provision of incentives, policy efforts are increasingly focusing on raising land managers’ awareness regarding diffuse pollution under the expectation that this would influence behaviours and thus increase uptake of best management practices that would, in turn, improve water quality. Given the multimillion financial investments in these awareness-focused approaches, a good understanding of the awareness–behavioural change–water quality pathway is critical to set the basis for assessing the real potential of these policy interventions. We systematically review the evidence across the full pathway drawing on published peer-reviewed papers from both the social and natural sciences, with a focus on Europe and North America. Results indicate that there is no one study that looks at the pathway in full, evidencing the paucity of research on the topic. For the limited studies that focus on the different components of the pathway, we find mixed evidence for the relationship between awareness and behaviour, and behavioural change and water quality. Furthermore, complexity within the pathway (e.g., through the study of factors mediating and moderating such relationships) has hardly been addressed by the literature. An in-depth understanding and analysis of this complexity—through an integrative model covering the entire pathway—could help in the design and implementation of effective policy strategies to encourage best land management practices and ultimately improve water quality.",
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Mitigating agricultural diffuse pollution: uncovering the evidence base of the awareness-behaviour-water quality pathway. / Okumah, Murat; Chapman, Pippa J; Martin-Ortega, Julia; Novo, P.

In: Water, Vol. 11, No. 1, 24.12.2018, p. 29 - 47.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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T1 - Mitigating agricultural diffuse pollution: uncovering the evidence base of the awareness-behaviour-water quality pathway

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AU - Chapman, Pippa J

AU - Martin-Ortega, Julia

AU - Novo, P

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N2 - Diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA) is a major environmental issue worldwide causing eutrophication, human health problems, increased water treatment costs and reducing the recreational potential of water bodies. In addition to penalties and provision of incentives, policy efforts are increasingly focusing on raising land managers’ awareness regarding diffuse pollution under the expectation that this would influence behaviours and thus increase uptake of best management practices that would, in turn, improve water quality. Given the multimillion financial investments in these awareness-focused approaches, a good understanding of the awareness–behavioural change–water quality pathway is critical to set the basis for assessing the real potential of these policy interventions. We systematically review the evidence across the full pathway drawing on published peer-reviewed papers from both the social and natural sciences, with a focus on Europe and North America. Results indicate that there is no one study that looks at the pathway in full, evidencing the paucity of research on the topic. For the limited studies that focus on the different components of the pathway, we find mixed evidence for the relationship between awareness and behaviour, and behavioural change and water quality. Furthermore, complexity within the pathway (e.g., through the study of factors mediating and moderating such relationships) has hardly been addressed by the literature. An in-depth understanding and analysis of this complexity—through an integrative model covering the entire pathway—could help in the design and implementation of effective policy strategies to encourage best land management practices and ultimately improve water quality.

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