Social and behavioural aspects of water use

There is increasing emphasis in the water industry on “demand management” - ensuring water requirements for communities are met in the face of fixed or declining water supply. This has emphasised the need for understanding the social and behavioural aspects of water use.

Our role

We can assist you with the following:

  • increase knowledge of behavioural influences on water consumption within the various socio economic segments
  • test behavioural change models that will sustain current and future water saving requirements
  • focus on residential socio economic segments within the Greater Melbourne region to assess water related behaviours that exist in the respective segments and key influences on those behaviours
  • assessment of the effectiveness of selected behavioural change models
  • increase consumer acceptance of recycled water
  • risk perception in relation to differing delivery systems of recycled water
  • advise on public trust in the authorities to ensure quality control
  • overcome public resistance to potable use of recycled water, including common response of 'disgust'
  • focus on emotive risk assessment and emotive association related to potential recycling for potable use
  • provide tools needed for water utilities to better understand and address public perceptions and public concerns regarding indirect drinking water recycling
  • develop best practices for communication strategies and community engagement
  • taste tests

Recent and current projects

This area of activity includes the following work:

  • Advanced treatment of waste water at Australian Antarctic Stations for direct potable reuse - social acceptance. Funding: Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)
  • Knowledge and affect in the perception of desalinated water (Honours project)
  • Reclaimed water viewed as an acceptable alternative to potable water. Funding: Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence (AWRCoE)
  • Public perception of, and response to, desalination in Australia. Funded by National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA)

Contact: Dr Daniel Ooi, daniel.ooi@vu.edu.au. Phone: +61 3 9919 2200

Selected papers and publications