Methods of conducting effective outreach to private well owners - A literature review and model approach

Lucinda Morris, Steve Wilson, Walton Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Educational outreach programs have the potential to increase the occurrence of private well testing and maintenance behaviors, but are not always able to successfully engage the intended audience and overcome their barriers to change. We conducted a review of literature regarding behavior change and risk communication to identify common barriers to private well stewardship and motivational strategies to encourage change, as well as best practices for communicating with well owners. Results indicated that no specific strategy will be appropriate for all audiences, as different groups of well owners will have different barriers to change. For this reason, educators must develop an understanding of their audience so they are able to identify the most significant barriers to change and select motivational strategies that will directly reduce barriers. Implications for private well outreach programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-182
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Water and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2016


  • Behavior
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Outreach
  • Private wells
  • Stewardship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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