Water Journal : Water Journal September 2012-1
my point of view water SEPTEMBER 2011 7 the most preferred drinking water for 23 per cent of survey respondents in Australia, and 28 per cent of survey respondents in the United States. These results were mirrored by a sampling of water professionals who were informally surveyed as part of a WateReuse Research Foundation webinar, reinforcing the idea that people in general can be comfortable with drinking water that they understand was once in a toilet. Participants in both research projects indicated that they were much less concerned about the source of drinking water than they were about monitoring and reliability, and the safety and taste of their drinking water when it arrives at their tap. Taken together, these research projects clearly show that a change in the historical method of describing water by its source (e.g . recycled wastewater) rather than its quality (e.g . purified water) can positively impact acceptance of drinking water reuse projects. A Transparent Approach The water industry needs to shift its focus away from wastewater towards thinking and talking about all water as a potential drinking water supply, no matter where it comes from. We need to stop differentiating between drinking water produced from a river or groundwater and drinking water produced from a once-wasted resource. By no means should we conceal from the public that drinking water contains water that has been used in other places – whether that was for agriculture, in an industrial facility, or even in a sink, shower or toilet. But we need to explain that concept from the holistic perspective of the water cycle, that in fact all drinking water, everywhere, contains water that has been used before, because all water on earth has been used before. That message needs to be followed with clear, positive, factual terminology to describe how skilfully operated treatment technology produces water that is at least as safe and clean as drinking water produced from any other source. We need to choose our language and design our communications to impart images of the quality of treatment and operations that produce clean water instead of images of wastewater. Linda was co-principal investigator alongside co-principal investigator Dr Paul Slovic on WRF 07-03 and co-principal investigator Dr Shane Snyder on WRF 09-01, with oversight provided by Dr George Tchobanoglous. Emily Callaway, a water resources engineer and public acceptance specialist with CH2M HILL, was an integral part of the research team. Both Downstream and the Interactive Urban Water Cycle are available at www.athirstyplanet.com. The WRF 07-03 research report is currently available from the WateReuse Research Foundation. WRF 09-01 will be published in late 2012; an illustrated Executive Summary is currently available from www.watereuse.org.
Water Journal November 2012-1
Water Journal August 2012