Water is one of the most key natural resources to the survival of mankind and is very much unlimited though a bit scarce in some societies. It surrounds the lands both far and near. Its usage in some of the regions across the world currently has augmented past the limits that natural water resources can sustain since it results in a reduction of some natural water resources including ponds, rivers, reduced the quality of drinking water, pollution of the environment and lastly increased periods of drought. For instance, Australia has been affirmed to be a high-stress region in regards to problems associated with water. All these are attributed to the factors that there is continuous increasing world population in addition to the impacts of impulsive climate in most regions creating adverse effects on the water supply on earth (Chris Binnie, 2008, p. 60).
Despite the availability of a variety of water reuse supplies, this report is directed to only the desalination of sea water and treated water. Recycling of water and see desalination are the strategies that will help to decrease the stress on the water resources while making them more sustainable to mankind despite debates and arguments about acceptance of the recycled water. Two aspects are mainly discussed in this report; the perception of the community in the acceptance of the desalinated water and recycled water including the approaches for community involvement. Surveys and studies were carried out earlier on public perceptions and the methods for engaging the public to adopt the use of recycled water and desalinated see water is also discussed (Chris Binnie, 2008, p. 65).
Sydney as a city in Australia is one of the most populated and its population is increasing at a very high rate. Currently, its population is approximately 5 million, and it is projected to go up to 6 million by the year 2036. Thus there is a need for a very strong, sustainable and efficient water plan by the state authority to manage this vast population. The metropolitan water plan comprises of water supply, and the management system of the plan takes into account the security, safety, sustainability and the cost-effective water supply to Sydney city. Besides, the metropolitan ensures the handling of drought and the law rainfall situation, good health to the citizens and the state of water bodies that are obstructed by the dams constructed to stream water all over the state (Fereidoun Ghassemi, 2007, p. 235).
The estimation of this plan is the provision of water security until the year 2025 to the NSW. Sydney’s metropolitan water plan has major characteristics as outlined below;
Presently, various environmental issues such as weather inconsistency, global warming, etc. have been on the mention and extracting water from the natural water bodies and land is a contributing factor to these challenges. Therefore, the techniques involved in this plan and community engagement will surely help to decrease the demand for water. The engagement of the community is also an effective method since it has created a friendly partnership between the government and the community on water harvesting, recycling and minimizing water loses especially the leakage loses (Fereidoun Ghassemi, 2007, p. 247).
The introduction of water meter helps to inspect the quality of water regarding the nutrients contained and the recycling water release in water bodies. The investment in these technologies will greatly help to solve the issue of water and increase the usage of recycled water and desalinated water in the future (Fereidoun Ghassemi, 2007, p. 266).
There are several views on the application of desalted water as opposed to reuse of wastewater. Various countries currently are facing the water challenges since they poses limited water resources and provisions to meet both their current and impending water demands. Besides, there is also a possibility of heavy pollution in their water bodies. With an increase in population, climate change and uncertainty of rain among others, these problems are deemed to becoming worse. Thus to curb the water crisis, the state authorities have a task of coming up with technical solutions to increase the water supply, quality, and the water level. The engineers have come up with new technologies which make water to be used once again after its use and also making the seawater drinkable through a process known as briefly described below (Gayathri Devi Mekala, 2008, p. 566).
Recycled water is water which is treated after it has been used once. The treatment involves various stages whereby the physical, chemical, and biological impurities are eliminated through various processes such as ultrafiltration. After treating the wastewater, the state authorities discharge it in large water bodies where it gets recombined with water devoid of impurities thus reducing the level of concentration of contaminations in the water body thereby being able to be used once again. On the other hand, it can be used directly without mixing it back to the fresh waters. Below is a diagram of the whole process (Gayathri Devi Mekala, 2008, p. 570).
Desalinated water is water that is void of salts and minerals .thus through a process of reverse osmosis, these salts and other harmful particles are eliminated making the water safe for human use. Below is the diagram for the desalination process
The studies and surveys that have been conducted in the past concerning the adoption of recycled water and desalinated sea water show that the public adoption was very little. Related research have been done in the recent past and the response is almost the same. These type of studies are carried since the 1970s. In most cases, the response was that people have the general acceptance to use of recycled water, but on a low personal contact, for instance, they will prefer to use it for gardening purposes and for purposes of flashing in the toilet. Personal contact such as drinking, washing, and bathing was mostly not for the opinion of many (Gayathri Devi Mekala, 2008, p. 600).
The survey conducted in Australia by Hurliman and Dolnicar records that 92% of the residents consented to the use of recycled water for non-contact purposes such as gardening. Only 36 % of the residents were positive about the use of recycled water for drinking. On the other hand, the survey on acceptance of desalinated water showed that 53% of the residents were positive for its use in drinking, bathing, and washing but 84% were ready to use it for gardening purpose and other outdoor usage. Thereby this study implies that desalted water is most favored over water that has been recycled for contact usage i.e. drinking, bathing and washing (Gayathri Devi Mekala, 2008, p. 720).
Though the acceptance level of this water is increased, majority of the people still are not prepared to consume recycled water for purposes of personal use such as drinking. A recent study by Ransburg indicates the barriers that are posed by the public in regards to the use of recycled water. The barriers are either technical or non-technical. The technical barriers are the appropriate technical solutions that will be suitable to manage health risks. The acceptance of the public to the usage of recycled water falls under non-technical issues. Ransburg states that the reality is that despite the fact that sufficient and available information to substantiate the high-tech submissions of water treatment systems, the view of the public remains a major setback (Fereidoun Ghassemi, 2007, p. 288).
The quality of water is among the major factors that people consider on the acceptance of recycled or desalinated water. The water that is recycled from the municipal wastewater consists of harmful releases such as chemicals from industries and organic compounds and human excrete. Also, there are biological materials such as pathogens, protozoa, impurities and viruses. The risk of treatment failure is usually likely in almost all the water treatment systems thereby reviewing these possibilities makes most people reluctant about the adoption of recycled water (Chris Binnie, 2008, p. 90).
It is easier to convince the people to adopt the usage of desalinated water weather for purposes of contact usage or outdoor. In contrary, the cost of the desalination process is way too costly as compared to the normal fresh water. Besides, desalinated water is not environmental friendly since the energy consumption of desalinated water is very high thereby resulting in greenhouse gas emission and air pollution. The sucking of huge amounts of water from the sea endangers the life of tiny sea creatures such as plankton, babyish and other animals. Also, the removal of salt disposes of the brine concentration thereby harming aquatic life. Furthermore, the disposal of the removed salt is very harmful to plant life since it makes the soil lose its fertility. Despite all these negative environmental effects most people prefer using desalinated water over recycled water (Chris Binnie, 2008, p. 100).
People will easily accept to drink recycled water without their knowledge. But telling them to drink recycled water however much it is clean will be impossible since it creates some negative psychological impact on them as they will be thinking that they are drinking water from their toilet. On the other hand, it will not be much hard to convince them to drink desalinated water. Only a few people do care about the source of water they are drinking, but to most people, the source is a major factor to consider.
Some belief in certain religions permits one to only drink water after performing some ritualistic process. Thus it is hard to convince the people to use or drink recycled water nor to convince them to go against their beliefs. Though in such communities, acceptance of desalinated water is not a big factor to them. Besides, the demographic factors such as age become a factor i.e. the aged h do have a weak immune system, and drinking recycled water may expose them to being vulnerable to illness.
The engagement of the community is one of the toughest parts in the recycling and reuse of water. The community is essential in all the aspects since by getting the people’s problems; sound strategies can help to improve the decisions made which could turn out to be great .hence below are sound strategies that will help the adoption of recycled water (Chris Binnie, 2008, p. 116).
Engaging the public from the onset i.e. the planning stages very essential in winning the trust of the public and gaining their confidence. This involves conducting of surveys, questions, seminars, studies and awareness programs this, makes the public to have more knowledge on the process. For instance in Toowoomba advanced water recycling plant, the authorities did everything from planning process design and implementation only to bring to the public notice after everything is done. The people could not buy the idea, and despite attempts to buy their trust, it failed terribly to the extent that protest groups and political influenced ensured the people wane and consequently the project failed (Fereidoun Ghassemi, 2007, p. 299).
Before applying any strategy, there is need to get the opinions from the public and the current market scenario. These surveys could be in the form of online questionnaires. I .e in 2009; an online data survey showed that 3094 people out of 13884 invitations voted for acceptance of recycled water usage. The questionnaire was about their mindsets, beliefs, demographic views and social views and recycled water and reuse. This kind of survey helps to decide on which best strategy to apply
The branding and marketing are also a crucial factor in making the public to accept the recycling process. This entails providing an intricate elementary and the most striking statistics about the recycling plant. I.e. providing a preview of a film that encloses the best sections of the process. This makes the persons enthusiastic about the plan or the method. Thus the name of the plant for example green water will help to compensate the feeling of yuck thus building the public’s confidence.
This involves conducting of seminars and presentations where people share ideas and information regarding all data about recycled and desalinated water. If possible give a comparison of the recycled water and the water they use using a practical data base. Provided they will realize that the recycled water is superior to the one they are using they’ll be more at ease in accepting it. Also, engaging the media by providing them with technical and qualitative information helps to publicize the plant. Lastly conducting of competition and in the process providing the participants with questionnaires helps to remove the misconceptions about the product (Fereidoun Ghassemi, 2007, p. 445).
Most people do not prefer recycled and desalinated water, but they would opt for natural water. The survey conducted shows that there is a gap in the knowledge of general purpose concerning the recycled and desalinated water. Most of them would prefer to use recycled and desalinated water for outdoor purposes such as agriculture but not in contact purposes such as bathing washing and drinking. This report showed the reasons as to why this happens and provided the best sound strategies that can be applied to make the process more successful and adoptable by the public. The results from the surveys and studies show that the people are more concerned about the health issues and the water source. The sound strategies such as creating awareness through the media, conducting seminars and technical knowledge sharing, engaging the public from the onset will help to eliminate the misconceptions about the product thereby increasing the confidence and adoption from the public (Gayathri Devi Mekala, 2008, p. 631).
Chris Binnie, M. K., 2008. Water Reuse,Scientific and Technical Report Series. 2nd ed. edinburgh: IWA Publishing.
Fereidoun Ghassemi, I. W., 2007. Inter-Basin Water Transfer. 3rd ed. london: Cambridge University Press.
Gayathri Devi Mekala, B. D. M. S. A.-M. B., 2008. A framework for efficient wastewater treatment and recycling systems. 2nd ed. sydney: IWMI.
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