Key dimensions of public acceptance for managed aquifer recharge of urban stormwater

Aditi Mankad, Andrea Walton, Kim Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The present study qualitatively explored psychological and policy-related factors underpinning community acceptance of treated urban stormwater for domestic uses, as well as community views regarding managed aquifer recharge for stormwater treatment and delivery. Participants (N = 36) took part in 2-h community workshops and focus groups, where they discussed existing knowledge and perceptions of stormwater and managed aquifer recharge. Results showed a high general acceptance for managed aquifer recharge using stormwater. Nine key social dimensions were found to be indicators of acceptance for stormwater: 1. Fair distribution of treated stormwater, 2. Trust in managed aquifer recharge technology and scientific information, 3. Environmental impact of managed aquifer recharge, 4. Cost of treating and distributing stormwater, 5. Wastage of stormwater if not utilised, 6. Issues relating to future water security, 7. Water quality, 8. Education, and 9. Perceived effectiveness of the stormwater scheme. These important dimensions and drivers of acceptance emerged within the data, highlighting what is important to an urban community with respect to acceptance of managed aquifer recharge of stormwater for potable and non-potable uses. A proposed model of social acceptance is presented, incorporating the policy-related characteristics, psychological factors and communication factors which emerged during the qualitative analysis as predictors of social acceptance for the managed aquifer recharge of stormwater. This model helps to conceptualise how the public perceives the use of stormwater in the home, and how public opinion of stormwater sits relative to other forms of alternative water, such as recycled water and rainwater. It is seems that public acceptance for stormwater is higher than for other types of alternative water, which is a significant finding in this research area. Future research can further explore the predictive nature of the hypothesised relationships between perceptions and intentions to use stormwater and water use behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-223
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


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