Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Coping with drought: Perceptions, intentions and decision-stages of South West England households

Bryan, Kimberly; Ward, Sarah; Barr, Stewart; Butler, David

Coping with drought: Perceptions, intentions and decision-stages of South West England households Thumbnail


Sarah Ward

Stewart Barr

David Butler


© 2019, The Author(s). As water supply in England increasingly faces threats of climate change, urbanisation and population growth, there is an imperative for household water users to be more resilient to extremes such as drought. However, since English water users have not traditionally been involved in drought management, there is need for in-depth understanding of perceptions and intentions towards drought management at a household scale to inform policy approaches. This paper fills this gap by investigating the perceptions and intentions of South West England households towards drought and drought coping. A theoretical framework developed through the lens of protection motivation theory and applying the trans-theoretical model, formed the basis of analysis of a survey administered in two communities in Exeter, England. Results indicated that despite low perceived likelihood and consequences of drought in their local area, participants were willing to implement household drought coping measures. Cluster analyses using a k-means clustering algorithm, found that participants were generally segmented in two typologies at different decision-stages. These decision-stages were defined by the variables perceived drought consequence, coping response efficacy, and behavioural intentions. Decision-stages were identified as contemplative and responsive decision-stages, illustrating willingness and participation in drought coping response at the household level. The importance of applying these psychological paradigms holds value for application in water company market research and policy decision-making in the context of targeted intervention strategies aimed at engendering drought resilient households.


Bryan, K., Ward, S., Barr, S., & Butler, D. (2019). Coping with drought: Perceptions, intentions and decision-stages of South West England households. Water Resources Management, 33(3), 1185-1202.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 18, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 16, 2019
Publication Date Feb 15, 2019
Deposit Date Dec 20, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 17, 2020
Journal Water Resources Management
Print ISSN 0920-4741
Electronic ISSN 1573-1650
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 3
Pages 1185-1202
Keywords coping, decision stage, drought, motivation, water
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : The final publication is available at Springer via


You might also like

Downloadable Citations