The influence of context and perception when designing out risks associated with non-potable urban water reuse

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Urban Water Journal, 2018, 15 (5), pp. 461 - 468
Issue Date:
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© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Perceptions and cognitive bias in relation to reuse water can influence the responses to risk and reward. Much has been written on community perspectives and risk perceptions with regard to recycled water for non-potable use. This paper is distinct in that it focuses on the scheme proponents and those involved in designing and delivering schemes. An analysis of five case studies in Australia across a range of diverse settings revealed that the levels of treatment for various end-uses were in excess of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling. The evidence shows that the water industry has a fairly narrow view when identifying risks, and has an insurance type response to mitigating the risk. The overarching drivers for this are either the mitigation of the perceived risk associated with using reuse water, or the lack of an adaptive response to changes in the circumstances.
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