This paper suggests key challenges facing our understanding of public responses to water recycling and our efforts to provide effective public consultation. The current understanding of public reactions to water recycling is insufficient to predict support in general or for specific schemes, and cannot obviate a thorough investigation and engagement for each proposal. Such support as is evident may not be robust. We need to provide better opportunities and mechanisms, and a wider scope, for community involvement. These entail a broader conception of the information needs of participants, and careful integration of education and consultation processes. Our discussion forms the rationale for a program of research as part of the Oz-AQUAREC project. We propose trialling discourse analysis methods, first, to examine the views expressed in focus groups and try to understand their social bases, and second, to facilitate interactions between technical practitioners, authorities and community groups.