Providing information promotes greater public support for potable recycled water
In spite of the clear need to address water security through sourcing new and alternative water supplies, there has been marked resistance from some communities to the introduction of recycled water for potable use. The present studies tested the effectiveness of providing relatively brief information about the recycled water process and the safety of recycled water on cognitive, emotional and behavioral responses. Three information conditions (basic information or basic information plus information about pollutants in the water, or information that puts the risk of chemicals in the water in perspective) were compared to a no information control condition. Across three experiments there was general support for the hypothesis that providing information would result in more positive cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses to recycled water. Information increased comfort with potable recycled water and, in general, participants in the information conditions expressed more positive emotions (2 and 5), less negative emotions (Experiment 3), more support (2 and 5), and lower risk perceptions (2 and 5) than those in the no information control condition. Participants who received information also drank more recycled water than control participants (2 and 3, although the differences between conditions was not statistically significant) and were significantly more likely to vote in favor of the introduction of a recycled water scheme (Experiment 3). There was evidence, however, that providing information about the level of pollutants in recycled water may lead to ambivalent responses.
Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified