Reuse 07 Presentation By Janet Saunders Session 4 A


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Additional Behavioural Change Methods for Building Community Acceptance of Recycled Drinking Water

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Reuse 07 Presentation By Janet Saunders Session 4 A

  1. 1. Additional Behavioural Change Methods for Building Community Acceptance of Recycled Drinking Water Presenter: Janet Saunders, Managing Director
  2. 2. Introduction Community Education & Interaction • Can often be a difficult and complex process Made More Difficult • When it involves such an emotive issue as water, particularly during a prolonged drought/enforcement of stringent water restrictions Issues Become Even More Complicated • When you introduce alternative sources of water such as purified recycled drinking water Waters Are Muddied Even Further • When ‘trust’ becomes a major issue because the ‘alternative source of water’ is being provided by a ‘Government’ or semi-quasi Government’ organisation
  3. 3. Background Extensive Research • Into public opinion/attitudes about water reuse over past 20 years in Australia/globally (Bruvold, Po, Baumann, Marks, CSIRO) Community Consultation • Acknowledged as being key to achieving public acceptance of recycled drinking water Current Long-Term Studies • CSIRO/AWA’s ‘Australian Water Conservation & Reuse Research Program’ • Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality & Treatment’s ‘Community Views on Water Recycling’ Two Key Questions Remain Unanswered Q1. How well do we understand community attitudes/likely stakeholder behaviour to purified recycled drinking water? Q2. Was Toowoomba’s reaction to the 2006 Referendum reflective of the Australian population at large?
  4. 4. Challenges People Are Complex Creatures • What people say doesn’t necessarily mirror what they do, just ask a politician at election time • Successful community consultation programs do not necessarily guarantee public acceptance of water reuse projects Influenced by Internal & External Barriers/Drivers • Attitudes to purified recycled drinking water are influenced by different factors to other commonly adopted recycling actions • People’s beliefs are significantly impacted by the perceived taste/visual appearance/source of recycled water (tend to generate an ‘emotional’ sometimes ‘irrational’ response) Voting Process Adds Another Dimension • When processes such as a referendum are introduced, can create another powerful barrier to change • Stakeholders’ emotions/stress levels can be further heightened because of having to make a ‘decision/choice’ one way or another
  5. 5. Major IPR Projects 1. Western Corridor Project • Stage 1: Construction of a new water treatment plant to treat wastewater to supply recycled water to Swanbank & Tarong power stations • Stage 2: Construction of two new water treatment plants to supply purified recycled water for transfer into Wivenhoe Dam Community Consultation Step 1: Inform stakeholders about overall project Step 2: Enable stakeholders to raise their issues/concerns Step 3: Document stakeholder feedback as part of project planning, approvals, construction processes Step 4: Report back to stakeholders on outcomes of community engagement process Step 5: Undertake further public consultation as part of environmental assessment, approvals processes
  6. 6. Major IPR Projects 2. Water2Water Project • ACTEW Board agreed in principle, pending feasibility studies, to purify water from Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre for return to Cotter catchment • ACTEW currently investigating available options before making final recommendation to ACT Government in mid-2007 Community Consultation ACT Government-led community consultation program comprising: • Provision of general project information to all stakeholders • Underpinned by community group briefings • Stakeholder feedback obtained via community surveys • Ongoing stakeholder updates provided via dedicated web site • Project team accessible to answer stakeholder queries, deal with written submissions • Expert panel established to review suitability of Water2WATER from a health perspective
  7. 7. Even More Questions Q: What are the risks/benefits of enforced/mandatory introduction of recycled drinking water? versus building community support and acceptance prior to its introduction Q: Is community consultation still as vital as it was? in achieving public acceptance for recycled drinking water Q: Is there a right or wrong way to consult with your communities? about the introduction of recycled drinking water Q: Is a referendum/vote still the preferred ‘democratic’ option/actually necessary? in deciding whether the community supports the introduction of recycled drinking water Q: Will the current IPR projects be trailblazers for widespread community acceptance? for the future use of purified recycled drinking water, directly or indirectly
  8. 8. Another Possible Approach Combine ‘behavioural change tools’ and traditional ‘community consultation’ methodologies to gain vital stakeholder insights Benefits: • Provide better understanding of stakeholders’ ‘deep seated’ sometimes ‘irrational’ beliefs • Identify to what degree these ‘beliefs’ influence stakeholders’ behaviour • Provide more accurate predictions (up to 98% accuracy) of how stakeholders will behave/respond • Help create effective, ‘scientifically based’ communications programs that achieve sustainable behavioural change Today will look at one specific behavioural change tool: • Core Belief Research
  9. 9. Core Belief Research Core Beliefs: • Deep seated views about ourselves, other people, world we live in • Core beliefs are either positive or negative, are formed through individual life experiences/personal circumstances • Specific view is only a ‘core belief’ when it’s held by more than 75% of people in a particular stakeholder group • Core beliefs cannot be changed, only the intensity with which they are held can be influenced • Core beliefs of a stakeholder group are impacted by the ‘bandwagon effect’ Core Belief Research: • Relies on carefully worded questions to delve beyond a person’s attitudes and perceptions • Primary source of data = surveys, other stakeholder feedback processes • Secondary source of data = detailed analysis of written correspondence, physical actions of stakeholders (body language, tone of voice, choice of words/phrases)
  10. 10. Core Belief Research Examples of Core Beliefs: 1. ‘Weather forecasters never get it right’ 2. ‘Governments/politicians can’t be trusted, they’re all as bad as each other’ 3. ‘It will rain eventually’ 4. ‘Water is safe to drink it if comes out of my kitchen tap’ 5. ‘My water provider has a responsibility to provide me with safe, high quality drinking water’ 6. ‘If discoloured water comes out of my tap it isn’t safe to drink’ 7. ‘Water from sewage is dirty and not safe to drink’ 8. ‘Water in our dams and rivers is a natural source of drinking water’ And of course everyone’s favourite: All women are bad drivers!
  11. 11. Core Belief Research Q1: Please describe, in your own words, where you believe recycled water originates from Q2: How do you believe recycled water should be used to supplement traditional sources of water for both drinking and non-drinking purposes? Q3: What issues and concerns, if any, do you have about recycled water being used to supplement traditional sources of drinking water? Q4. What alternative sources of water, in order of priority, do you believe your water provider should be investigating to help boost drinking water supplies during the ongoing drought? Q5. If you have never sampled purified recycled water, how do you believe it would look, taste and smell? Q6. If you have sampled purified recycled water, how did it look, taste, smell? In your own words describe how it differed, if at all, from traditional tap water?
  12. 12. Core Belief Research Turning Negatives to Positives Resulting data is carefully analysed to identify: - key drivers/barriers to changing stakeholder behaviour - positive core beliefs - negative core beliefs - preferred delivery mechanisms (visual, written, direct/indirect) - key words or phrases that can be used to ‘intensify’ existing positive core beliefs and ‘neutralise’ existing negative core beliefs Using only traditional community consultation methods can increase the risk of: - inappropriate words or phrases being used that could intensify stakeholders’ negative core beliefs - ineffective delivery mechanisms being used that could result in vital information not being read or misunderstood (creating more questions than it answers)
  13. 13. Toowoomba Experience Based on anecdotal feedback from Toowoomba Council staff: • Original plan was to undertake a 2-3 year community consultation program - to gradually build acceptance for recycled drinking water • Communications program was beginning to deliver results - strong indications of increasing support for introduction of recycled drinking water • Decision to hold a Referendum - changed the community consultation dynamics • Emotive ‘No’ campaign included ‘powerful’ television advertisements - based on fear which eroded community support very quickly • Stakeholders were suddenly faced with making a black or white decision - they could only vote Yes or No • The ‘No’ campaign argued that a ‘Yes’ vote meant people would no longer have a ‘choice’ - and that by voting NO would ensure all possible options to boost the region’s water supply would remain on the table
  14. 14. Toowoomba Experience Behavioural change tools may not have changed the outcome but let’s consider the following possibilities: 1. People’s understanding about what made Toowoomba unique - which meant other possible options to boost the region’s water supply system were not sustainable, could have been a driver for change 2. People having to ‘trust’ the Council/Mayor - could have been a barrier to change 3. Community fears about being locked into a single option or choice - could have been a barrier to change 4. Endorsement of recycled water by the Federal Government (Malcolm Turnbull) - could have been a barrier to change 5. Affordability and reliability may not have been key factors for the community - and were therefore neither a barrier or driver for change, rather they muddied the waters 6. A direct request to the community to work with the Council/Mayor to secure the region’s water supply system - could have been a driver for change
  15. 15. Overseas Case Studies UK Nuclear Industry • Research into attitudes to the nuclear power industry, in particular the building of new nuclear reactors • July 2001 - 60% public opposition, 20% support • November 2005 - 41% public support, 28% opposition • Turnaround achieved through comprehensive core belief research and resulting community consultation program UK Customer Trust Index • Survey of 2,441 adults in UK to identify key drivers for generating trust in retail brands and organisations • Research conducted on behalf of Microsoft, EDF Energy, London Underground, BT, Royal Bank of Scotland, The Body Shop and Orange • Total of six core beliefs identified which most commonly influence consumers’ buying decisions • Found that what people ‘believe’ about a brand or organisation was a more powerful influence on buying habits than price, quality or reputation
  16. 16. In Summary • Variety of additional behavioural change tools available - to help improve water industry’s understanding of community beliefs about recycled drinking water • Tools designed to work in tandem - with existing community consultation programs/techniques, there is no ‘right or wrong’ way to identify barriers/drivers to change • More information you glean about stakeholders - the more accurate your predictions will be about their likely future behaviour • Some of these tools and methodologies are new to the water industry - they have not yet been properly tested but are widely used in other market sectors • Next step is to secure funding for a formal ‘pilot program’ - to gauge their effectiveness and prove the long-term value of this type of approach
  17. 17. Your Questions Answered