Public Acceptance & Water Reuse: An Assessment of the Water Reuse Program Operating in San Marcos, Texas
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Purpose: The purpose of this research is three-fold. First this applied research project develops an exploratory model to assess a water reuse program. Second, this applied research project uses the exploratory model to evaluate a water reuse program in San Marcos, TX. Third, based on the evaluation of the water-reclaiming program, recommendations for improvement are developed.
Method: The methodology used in this research is a case study. This methodology is an analysis of a single unit, the water reuse program operating in San Marcos, TX, and aims to generalize across a larger set of units, an exploratory model. Case study methodology in this research gains understanding by review and analysis of documents and conducting interviews through the development and testing of working hypothesis. The selection of this particular unit supports the research purpose by hosting interviews and focusing on organizational documents, which includes websites and literature (signage, public notifications, annual reports, etc.) produced by the water reuse program operating in San Marcos, TX.
Findings: The results demonstrate the application of communication and policies and practices to encourage public acceptance of water reuse. The criteria regarding public health concerns were not demonstrated by document analysis but did appear during the structured interviews. Specifically, document analysis regarding the maintenance of a water reuse inventory failed to yield evidence. The presence of support in the interviews suggests that the inventory is in place but not presented to the public via the Internet. As interviews demonstrated support for all of the criteria, increasing the volume of published information for the public would improve the water reuse program. Not increasing the available information for the public will limit the understanding of the intricacies associated with the water reuse program and may result in a decline of public support.