Survey of statewide public perceptions regarding water reuse in Arizona

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Increasing demands on water resources have made water reuse an attractive option for extending water supplies in the southwest. However, concerns remain about the potential risks of contact with recycled water. This study focused on perceptions regarding water reuse and how these may affect future utilization of the resource. This study, based on a telephone survey of 400 randomly-selected Arizona residents, was used to assess public opinion of water reuse in the state. Survey results indicated that residents feel it is important for their community to use recycled water. In fact, 76% of those surveyed support using ‘consumer incentives for using recycled water’, and over two-thirds of respondents support ‘increasing water or sewer rates to treat water to higher standards'. Despite this support, the survey revealed that almost two-thirds of the respondents have concerns about recycled water. Those concerns can be alleviated by providing ‘better information about recycled water’. Education level proved to be the most significant demographic affecting perception of terminology and recycled water uses. These results can be used by water agencies – even those outside Arizona – to address community concerns, effectively promote water reuse, and develop more sustainable and accepted alternatives to augment their water portfolios.

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