Critical reflection involves the uncovering and understanding of the assumptions, which are made in the development of knowledge and the establishment and perception of facts. A capacity to understand the development of facts is proposed as an important outcome of social learning. The public perception of the facticity of expert scientific and technological knowledge is analysed in four sets of workshops conducted with publics who utilised recycled water, were within close proximity to water recycling schemes or lived in an area where planned water recycling schemes were to be implemented. The purpose of these workshops was to develop a social learning method, which could be utilised within public engagement about water reuse management. Jonathan Potter's concepts of offensive and defensive rhetoric and reifying and ironising discourse were used to describe how a public perceived expert knowledge as factual or resisted the facticity of expert pronouncements about water reuse, which were utilised in the workshops. Examples of this type of rhetoric and discourse were identified in the deliberative workshops developed in this study of social learning about water reuse and its implementation in public engagement.