Publication Details

Dolnicar, S. & Hurlimann, A. (2010). Desalinated Versus Recycled Water - What Does the Public Think?. In I. Escobar & A. Schafer (Eds.), Sustainable Water for the Future: Water Recycling Versus Desalination (pp. 375-388). Amsterdam: Elsevier.


A survey study was conducted with 1495 Australians asking them about their likelihood of using desalinated and recycled water for a range of purposes and for their assessment of statements related to desalinated and recycled water. Results indicate that – in contrast to study findings three years ago – the stated likelihood of using desalinated water was higher than that for recycled water for all purposes. The analysis of attitudinal statements provides insight into the possible reasons for these results: Australians perceive recycled water as a higher health risk and desalinated water as more expensive. Perceived health risk, appears to dominate people’s perceptions, leading to lower stated likelihood of use rates for recycled water. Implications for public policy are discussed.

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