WateReuse Research Foundation and WateReuse of California have been exploring the viability of direct potable reuse (DPR) since 2011. In 2012, the two associations launched the DPR Initiative to advance DPR as a water supply option for California. A workshop conducted in 2012, revealed that more research was needed to properly educate and inform communities about DPR. The associations funded a team of investigators, which included Katz & Associates, Data Instincts and the University of Arizona, to conduct research related to public support for direct potable reuse and prepared the Model Communications Plans for Increasing Awareness and Fostering Acceptance of Direct Potable Reuse (WRRF 13-02).
K&A, as co-principal investigator for this research project, developed strategic messages and a suite of public outreach activities, designed to introduce and communicate about direct and indirect potable reuse, to build awareness and understanding about the viability of DPR as a new, local water supply option. The research included focus groups, public opinion surveys and in-depth interviews with water agency staff, California legislators, regulators and representatives of business and environmental groups. The investigation team developed focus group and telephone survey questions to test messages and gauge perception and support for potable reuse and managed the focus group and public opinion survey process.