Water reuse perceptions of students, faculty and staff at Western University, Canada

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Global fresh water resources are under increasing pressure from rapidly growing demands and changing climatic conditions. Wastewater reclamation is becoming an important alternative for sustainable water resources management and building climate change resiliency in many regions around the world. Public acceptance and trust of consumers in the quality of reclaimed water is considered by many to be the most important factor determining the outcomes of water reclamation projects. Knowledge of the urban water cycle and water reuse perceptions of student, faculty and staff at Western University were investigated. Results showed that members of the university community are more likely to accept reclaimed wastewater for applications that do not involve drinking or close personal contact. Knowledge of the urban water cycle and water resources in Canada is modest among the university community with a moderate (G = 0.303, p < 0.05) positive relationship between ‘water knowledge’ and ‘close contact acceptability’. The majority of the university community (75.8%) thinks that reclaiming water to provide an alternate source of water in southwestern Ontario is a good idea, but there are still concerns about the presence of chemicals such as pharmaceuticals from reclaimed water and the long-term effects on human health from exposure to these contaminants.

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