Prior Work

As indicated above, the vast majority of studies investigating public acceptance of water from alternative sources focused on recycled water. Pioneering work in the area [11,12] concluded more than 30 years ago that people differentiate between the kinds of uses and show the highest level of opposition when asked about close to body uses, such as drinking and bathing. This finding has been replicated in all subsequent studies on public acceptance of recycled water in Australia [10,13-17] and beyond.

Very few studies have conducted comparisons of public acceptance of water from different alternative sources. One study (Nancarrow et al. [18]) found the highest public acceptance was for treated stormwater for use in parks and gardens (96%) and gray water for gardening (87%). However, this comparison included a limited number of alternative water sources. Also, and with implications for the proposed study, reasons behind the identified difference in attitudes between sources were not investigated. A second study was conducted by Dolnicar and Schafer [17] and compared recycled water with desalinated water, finding that public acceptance - while generally higher for desalinated water - varied by the intended water use purpose.

There have been many factors that have been investigated with regard to influence on willingness to use recycled water. Past research has found that some demographic characteristics such as gender, age, and education, influence attitudes toward recycled water use. However Marks [19] in a recent review article found that there is little evidence that demographic factors, apart from gender, can predict acceptance of recycled water use. Factors, which have been found to influence willingness to use recycled water, include but are not limited to: trust (including [19-21]), information/knowledge [21,22], and concerns about quality and aesthetic attributes [23-26]. However, there has been limited research regarding attitudinal factors influencing willingness to use desalinated water.

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