Californians back water recycling

Californians are eager for long-term solutions to the state’s drought and are overwhelmingly supportive of using treated wastewater, or recycled water, in their everyday lives, according to a statewide survey by water technology firm, Xylem.

The survey found that 76% of respondents believe recycled water should be used as a long- term solution for managing water resources, regardless of whether or not a water shortage continues. 

Nearly half of respondents were very supportive of using recycled water as an additional local water supply. Another 38% were somewhat supportive. 

More than two fifths of survey respondents were very willing to use recycled water in their everyday lives and an additional 41% were somewhat willing. 
“We conducted this survey in an effort to better understand public perception about recycled water, and are very encouraged by the findings,” said Xylem Senior Vice President Joseph Vesey. “With overwhelming support from the public, California is well-positioned to lead the US in accelerating the availability and acceptance of recycled water.  The state has the opportunity to champion a flexible framework that recognizes the unique needs of local communities as they work to establish water resource strategies that include sustainable solutions such as recycled water.”
There were strong indications in the findings that education could play a major part in garnering support for water recycling.

Nearly 90% of residents were more willing to use recycled water after reading an educational statement explaining the treatment processes that recycled wastewater undergoes to become safe and drinkable again. And 88% agreed that a demonstration of the water purification process would make them more comfortable about drinking recycled water.

Californians do not view the use of recycled water as a short-term fix to the state’s five- year drought.  Eighty-eight percent of California residents agree that even if rainfall increased, the state should continue to invest in the use of recycled water for drinking purposes. I
The survey also found that terminology influenced public acceptance of the use of recycled water.  When reused water was referred to as “purified water,” 90% of respondents were more likely to be supportive of it as an additional local water supply than when the term “recycled water” (87%) or “reclaimed water” (82%) was used.