From Scarcity Problem Diagnosis to Recycled Water Acceptance: A Perceptive-Axiological Model (PAM) of Low and High Contact Uses


Sergio Vila-Tojo, Jose-Manuel Sabucedo, Elena Andrade, Cristina Gómez-Román, Mónica Alzate & Gloria Seoane


Water scarcity is a major problem that affects a greater number of countries every year. A possible solution is using recycled water systems. However, to implement the use of recycled water, public acceptance is needed. In this study, we propose a perceptive-axiological model (PAM) to understand the reasons for public acceptance or rejection of recycled water. This is the first model to jointly consider three conceptual dimensions: the diagnosis of the environmental situation, the axiological influence and the public perceptions regarding recycled water. The sample in this study consisted of 726 randomly selected participants who completed an online questionnaire. A key factor considered was the type of water use (low- or high-contact). Additionally, the model’s ability to predict acceptance in regions of high and low water stress was tested. The model showed good fit and predictive capacity for both low (R2 = .272) and high (R2 = .501) contact uses and partial equivalence between regions. Threat perception was the most distal variable in the model which, together with identity, affected the attribution of responsibility. These variables, along with trust in scientists, affected the three direct predictors of acceptance: perceived health risks, moral obligation, and cost-benefit analysis. Perceived health risk was the most important predictor in both types of contact (β = -.642 in high-contact, β = -.388 in low-contact uses). Moral obligation had a greater impact in high-contact (β = .170) than in low-contact (β = .099) uses, the opposite outcome occurred with respect to costs-benefit analysis (β = .067 in high-contact, β = .219 in low-contact uses). The PAM offers a general framework that identifies the importance of the three dimensions and how they interact with each other, which facilitates the development of strategies to increase acceptance. On the one hand, the PAM works as a tool to assess the profile of a specific population and, on the other hand, it highlights the specific factors which are the best suited for interventions to increase public acceptance.

Environmental Concern Priming and Social Acceptance of Sustainable Technologies: The Case of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems

Revista:Water Research.
Available online 31 March 2022, 118380

DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2022.118380

Año: 2022