Acceptance of water alternatives in Australia – 2009

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In a nationally representative study with a sample size of 1495, Australian residents were asked about their attitudes to recycled and desalinated water. Specifically, they were asked to state how likely they would be to use these sources of water for 14 purposes. Recycled water was found to have a higher stated likelihood of being used for watering gardens (compared to desalinated water). No significant differences in likelihood of use were found for toilet flushing, car washing and cleaning. For all other uses (including drinking), desalinated water had higher likelihood of use ratings. Respondents were also asked about their intention to relocate under four different water scenarios. This is a topic not studied before in the Australian context. Results indicate that respondents' stated likelihood to relocate was highest when there was insufficient water to meet their needs, followed by when recycled water was introduced into their supply, then the introduction of desalinated water. The scenario where residents had to rely on self-purified rain water from a tank had the lowest level of relocation intention. The results indicate that the increased provision of rainwater tanks may be the most publically acceptable water alternative for Australians at this point in time.

Keywords: acceptance, attitudes, desalinated water, rainwater tanks, recycled water, relocation

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