• environmental attitudes;
  • place attachment;
  • proximity;
  • utilitarianism;
  • water resource geography

This article investigates attitudes toward water resource protection among residents in varying proximities to resources, specifically to identify attitudinal differences and the extent to which nearness and adjacency explain attitudes. Proximity was evaluated by measured distances using GIS and reported closeness from a mail survey. Five attitudinal dimensions were assessed: general importance of resource protection, support for government, regulations, and economic measures, and combined overall attitudes. Nearness to water was most significant in explaining economic support, and adjacency for generally expressed importance. Attitudes differed most toward regulations. Overall, the relationship appears nonlinear. Empirical findings have implications for resource management, especially equity criteria in decision making.