Expert stakeholder attitudes and support for alternative water sources in a groundwater depleted region

Treavor H. Boyer, Christine Overdevest, Lisa Christiansen, Stephanie K.L. Ishii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The main objectives of this research were to quantify the risks/benefits and impacts of alternative water sources (AWSs) as perceived by expert stakeholders and to evaluate the overall support for multiple AWSs by expert stakeholders. The St. Johns River (SJR) basin, FL, USA was chosen as a case study for AWSs because it is a fresh groundwater depleted region and there are ongoing activities related to water supply planning. Expert stakeholders included federal, state, and local governments, public utilities, consulting engineering and industry, and environmental and social non-governmental organizations. AWSs under consideration in the SJR basin include surface water, desalination, water reclamation, and water conservation. A two-phase research approach was followed that focused on expert stakeholders. First, an elicitation study was used to identify salient beliefs about AWSs. Open-ended questions were asked about the risks/benefits of AWSs in terms of the three pillars of sustainability: ecological, economic, and human health impacts. Second, an online survey was constructed using beliefs identified during the elicitation study. The online survey was used to quantify attitudes toward and overall support for AWSs. The salient beliefs of expert stakeholders were dominated by the ecological pillar of sustainability. The support of expert stakeholders for AWSs, from least favorable to most favorable, was surface water withdrawals < desalination < water reclamation < water conservation, and was shaped by attitudes. The results of this research provide an improved understanding of the beliefs and attitudes that influence decision-makers involved in water supply planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume437
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • Desalination
  • Reuse
  • St. Johns River
  • Sustainability
  • Theory of planned behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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