The ghost in the machine : trust and technology in the water recycling debate.

Miller, Evonne, Buys, Laurie, Bell, Lorraine M., Hargreaves, Megan, Dawes, Les A., & Hamilton, Grant S. (2008) The ghost in the machine : trust and technology in the water recycling debate. International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 4(1), pp. 35-44.

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Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth, reports the second highest rate of water consumption in the industrialised world (Prime Minister's Science Engineering and Innovation Council, 2003). This is despite the fact that South-East Queensland is currently experiencing the “worst drought on record in more than 100 years” (SEQWater, 2005, p.4), with major dams in the region at record low levels of 16% - 20% capacity in 2007 (SEQWater, 2007). In response to this dire shortage of water, Queensland politicians have proposed a number of responses, including strict water-use restrictions, building dams, desalination and water recycling (Queensland Government Natural Resources Mines and Water, 2006). The focus of this paper is on water recycling, which refers to wastewater that is treated to a standard considered appropriate for its intended use. For drinking or potable purposes in Queensland, it is proposed recycled water would undergo a 7 barrier treatment system, including micro-filtration, reversed osmosis and advanced oxidation, before being mixed with the water supply source and entering the drinking system (Queensland Water Commission,2007). This proposition has received both support and opposition from experts and the general public. On the one hand, it is seen by some as a feasible and safe solution to the water shortage, while others believe there is inadequate knowledge about the removal of chemicals and health effects.

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ID Code: 16996
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: water recycling, qualitative, risk perception
ISSN: 1832-2077
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Common Ground
Deposited On: 17 Dec 2008 23:34
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2012 21:39

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