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Peer-Review Record

Interpreting Farmers’ Perceptions of Risks and Benefits Concerning Wastewater Reuse for Irrigation: A Case Study in Emilia-Romagna (Italy)

Water 2019, 11(1), 108;
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Water 2019, 11(1), 108;
Received: 12 November 2018 / Revised: 23 December 2018 / Accepted: 2 January 2019 / Published: 9 January 2019
(This article belongs to the collection Water Policy Collection)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

1.         The title reflects the contents of the paper.

2.         The abstract of the paper reads okay.

3.         The introduction section of the paper suitably motivates the readers in the subject of the paper. 

4. Section 2 (Materials and Methods)

Line 115-127 Which is the source for these data?

Line 173-174 Can you explain which are the literature sources?

5. Some references seem to have incomplete details such as the missing volume, issue and page numbers.

Author Response

·         Section 2 (Materials and Methods). Line 115-127 Which is the source for these data?

Thanks for the question. The source is the ReQpro Project itself, the project which has provided funding for the research and testing activities about different purification technologies. Analyzing the results of these tests and according to both economic and technological aspects, a decision has been made regarding the type of treatment for water purification and disinfection to be chosen in the specific context of the wastewater plant object of this study. Information on the characteristics of the current plant are taken from the website of the project which has been mentioned and cited in footnote of the new version of the article (lines 115-127 and footnote N2)

·         Line 173-174 Can you explain which are the literature sources?

The references taken into account to identify drivers of the technology acceptance level are described in section 2.2. In the revised version of the manuscript, at lines 177-179 we have now referred the reader to this section.

·         Some references seem to have incomplete details such as the missing volume, issue and page numbers.

The references have been all double checked in the revised version of the paper. They have been automatically updated by the Mendley software. Finally, the paper has undergone an editing process. The new version does not contain spelling errors.

Reviewer 2 Report

My comments in the article

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

The referee has kindly provided the pdf of the paper with annotations and with some parts of the text underlined. We have made our best to interpret these parts and address potential issues, although, unfortunately, the referee’s intention was not always crystal clear to us and some sentences underlined were not self-explicative. We believe, however, to have considered at least the most relevant issues raised. Overall, our effort was mainly devoted to address editing issues according to reviewer’s suggestions, and to better clarify some paragraphs. In this respect, we would also like to point out that the article has undergone an editing process by a professional. More specific comments follow.

For the sake of convenience, when we refer to the location of paragraphs in the old version of the manuscript, we add the extension (ov) to the lines reported; otherwise, we refer to the revised version of the manuscript (rv):

·         Lines 147-149 (ov): The reviewer wonders whether “these paragraphs are part of the methodological instrument or is a similar method applied before”. We would like to clarify that section 2.2 is intended to provide a brief review about the variables recognized by the literature to affect the level of technology acceptance. As a result, these paragraphs do not describe the methodological tools used in the context of our exercise, but highlight major conclusions from the literature on the drivers of technology adoption in the agriculture sector. To better report this intention, the title of section 2.2 has been made more explicit and the text slightly changed.

·         Lines 161-170 (ov). The reviewer suggests to include these lines in the introduction. While we keep these paragraphs in the current place, we follow the referee’s suggestion and include the following sentences in the introduction as well, to specify the focus on the assessment of advantages/benefits perception, in addition to risk, perceptions: “Specifically, we assess risk perceptions towards  wastewater re-use for irrigated agriculture; also, given that risks appear more acceptable when advantages are better understood [26], in addition to analyzing negative thoughts and feelings concerning perceived risk, a positive attitude dimension is accounted for by looking at perceived benefits/advantages.”

·         Line 224 (ov). The referees writes, “Results list must be [?]”. We suppose that with this statement the referee meant the need to include a list of major results. However, this has been already provided in Appendix A, represented by Tables A1, A2, A3, A4, where all descriptive statistics have been extensively reported.

·         Line 265 (ov). The reviewer comments on the figures presented in Section 3.2.1 and 3.2.2 asking for improved figures and English editing. We have provided new figures where some variables names have been changed. Additionally, we have also modified the text within the paragraphs to increase clarity and correct few typos. Table 2 (rv) has been added; Table 3 (rv) has been improved with description of variables and additional details. We also added classification tables in the new Appendix B, where classification scores are available for each tree. This further supports our results. Finally, as already stated, the article has been extensively edited by a native English speaker. We believe the current version has further improved the quality and intelligibility of the document.

Reviewer 3 Report

This paper presents interesting research, based on both its topic and method, for exploring the perceived risk around the reuse of wastewater for agriculture. The paper is well structured, makes good use of tables and figures, and gives some useful conclusions. I was not able to open the irrigator survey (i.e. supplementary material), but from the text it appears to contain all key information as it relates to the research aims. The survey response rate was great at 95%, but the authors rightly identify that the sample size, was one limitation of the work. I found that the sentence structure and grammer in some places made the text confusing, and the paper would benefit from a careful edit. I also wonder about the significance of the comments around the influence of education and perceptions on future availability of water resources (Table 1 and Lines 252-254). Education is reiterated as being an important influence on risk through the rest of the analysis, but I don’t think that link can be made based upon the statistics presented at that point in the paper.


I have made more specific comments in the attached file.

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

We would like to thank the referee for his/her suggestions that allowed us to refine the article and increase its clarity. Below, we address major comments raised.

For the sake of convenience, when we refer to the location of paragraphs in the old version of the manuscript, we add the extension (ov) to the lines considered; otherwise, we refer to the revised version of the manuscript (rv):

·         The article has undergone an editing process to improve sentence structure and grammar, and correct spelling errors.

·         Figures have been entirely translated in English and spelling errors have been corrected

·         The source of figure 1 has been corrected to comply with WATER journal requirements and the webpage has been archived using WebCite.

·         The CHAID analysis has been run using SPSS. This detail was added within section 2.3.

·         About the correlation amongst variables (Lines 237, ov), this was derived calculating the Pearson coefficient and related significance levels, using the STATA software. To better specify this, we have added the footnote N4 in the new version of the paper: “The correlation amongst variables is derived using STATA, version 14. The statistic used is the Pearson coefficient (denoted as ρ) with associated p-values (0.05 significance level), which is a measure of the strength and direction of association existing between two variables.”

·         We reconsidered the discussion on the influence of education on perceptions about future availability of water resources (Table 1 and Lines 252-254, ov). Education was claimed to affect perceptions in a couple of paragraphs within the text of the document. However, we agree with the referee that the statistics calculated were not sufficient to make valid considerations on this matter. We then re-assessed existing relations calculating correlation coefficients and related significance levels. Given that the tests resulted in an unclear pattern of significance, we decided to remove the sentences explicitly mentioning a possible causality between the two variables (Lines 252-254 & 275-276, ov).

·         Within Table 1, we added a column with frequencies expressed in % changes and updated the text to harmonize descriptive statistics in the table with description within text.

·         Table B1 was removed from Appendix B and related information was relocated in current Table 2 and Table 3 (rv). In the former, the dependent variables are detailed and described, while in the latter we report the partitioning variables and hierarchic level of the classification trees. Additionally, the updated version of Table 3 also includes, as suggested, the reference to the relevant figures of classification trees and the variables description. This facilitates readers who will not have to rely on appendices as before to interpret results in the Table.

·         The discussion of results has been improved as requested, providing additional insights about the relation between crop choices and producers’ perceptions.

·         A new Appendix B was added to further support our results. Classification tables present the scores achieved for each classification tree.

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