Publication Date

Summer 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Katherine Cushing


Potable Reuse, Reclaimed Water, Recycled Water, Resource Management, Wastewater, Water

Subject Areas

Environmental studies; Water resources management; Environmental management


The drought-prone State of California has an ever increasing demand for water. Potable reuse provides a viable alternative water supply, but public attitudes, knowledge, and acceptance have limited implementation. This study investigated the knowledge and acceptance that high school students have towards potable reuse. Previous research has identified four critical factors that influence acceptance of potable reuse: 1) knowledge of the wastewater treatment process, 2) knowledge of local water supplies, 3) trust in local water resource managers, and 4) belief in the need for a new water supply. This study uses both quantitative and qualitative methods through a Likert-style survey and open-ended questions on 174 students at three high schools to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and acceptance that they have towards potable reuse before and after an educational intervention. The results of this study showed that a short educational intervention had a significant impact on student knowledge and acceptance of potable reuse. The belief in the need for a new water supply had the largest impact on acceptance, and demographic variables were not significant. The results of this study will help local water managers better focus their efforts on outreach to improve attitudes toward acceptance of potable reuse.