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ML Approach May Aid Water Conservation Push

By Penn State News

February 2, 2023

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Researchers at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and Arizona State University ran survey data from 3,000 residents of Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Denver through a clustering algorithm to determine which are more likely to alter their behaviors to conserve water in the Colorado River basin.

The researchers used the data to create seven archetypes of attitudes toward conversation, including confident deniers, who deny the need for water conservation but believe they have the ability to do so, and would-be participants, who do not do so yet but may be willing to conserve water.

The latter group was found to be the biggest across the three cities, indicating targeted conservation campaigns could have a real impact on water consumption.

Penn State's Renee Obringer said, "There's a real opportunity to do information campaigns to help people know what they can do, even in non-drought years, to participate."

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