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When water runs short, how do you get people to use their fair share?

Droughts are expected to become more common and more severe due to climate change, affecting the water supply we all rely on. Making sure there’s enough to go around will require significant changes – including to our individual habits

Environment 10 November 2022

WXFHW9 Man watering green lawn, sprinkling water on the grass with water pistol, close-up with no face

Comparing how much water people use with their neighbours can nudge them to cut down

RossHelen editorial / Alamy Stock Photo

You have probably spotted one of these yourself: a neatly printed placard in your hotel room imploring you to reuse your towel. “Every day millions of gallons of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once,” it says, before going on to instruct you where to place your towel if you intend to reuse it (like a decent human being). Helpfully, your own brain adds the last bit.

We now know …