The 30-min questionnaire was developed on the basis of (1) a previous survey instrument measuring public acceptance of recycled and desalinated water  as well as (2) an extensive qualitative research phase in which one focus group and up to 10 in-depth interviews were conducted at eight locations in Australia, which distinctly different water supply situations .
The key question respondents were asked was, what their likelihood of using recycled and desalinated water is, for a range of uses. Because this question is by its very nature hypothetical given that recycled water is not widely available to Australian residents, and because the validity of such hypothetical questions has been criticized in the past , we chose to provide respondents with the following scenario that made the question setting more realistic:
''For the following question, imagine that you live in a town where:
• Dams supplying household water currently hold 20 per cent of capacity
• Level 5 Mandatory Water Restrictions are in place for the use of tap water (no outside watering of gardens, no watering systems, no refilling swimming pools, no washing vehicles except for windows and headlights).
• Recycled water/desalinated water is readily available without restrictions.
Under these circumstances, please indicate how likely you would be to use RECYCLED WATER/DESALINATED WATER for the following purposes by placing the slider in the respective position along the line. The extreme points of the line indicate ''very likely'' and ''very unlikely''. Some of these behaviors may not apply to you, e.g., because you do not have a swimming pool. In this case please tick the ''not applicable'' option.''
Respondents were then presented with 14 typical water uses, for 7 of which a ''not applicable" option was provided.
Note that the choice of the horizontal line (also referred to as visual analogue scale) is uncommon. We have chosen this answer format because it has a number of advantages over traditionally used 5- or 7-point multicategory scales: (1) the distance between answer options is clearly and unambiguously defined, thus enabling metric data analysis to be performed, (2) there is no need for verbal labeling of options, which may be interpreted in different ways by different respondents, thus introducing bias.
Additional questions asked related to people's attitudes toward recycled and desalinated water, and water conservation; their level of proenvironmental attitude as well as proenvironmental behaviour; and basic sociodemographic criteria.
Was this article helpful?