The present study attempts to unravel the determinants of public acceptance of Treated Wastewater (TWW) reuse in the United Arab Emirates. A representative sample (1426) of Al-Ain city residents, were interviewed, using a structured questionnaire, on their knowledge and attitudes towards TWW reuse, and other demographic characteristics. Descriptive analysis shows high public acceptance for applications with low contact and lower acceptance for those involving direct or indirect consumption of TWW, and/or skin contact. The Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of acceptance responses identified (Kaiser–Mayer–Olkin test = 0.942; p
-value < 0.001 for Bartlett’s test) five factors/categories of applications that differ in level and type of contact. The five groups of applications are Direct consumption, Indirect Consumption, Non-food Agricultural, Industrial, and Skin Contact. ANOVA analysis (p
< 0.0001) and Spearman’s Rho test validated earlier findings. Another PCA of respondents’ reasons for hesitation towards TWW delivers two factors, attitude toward contamination risk and psychological “yuck” factors. Regression analyses show that both factors are influenced by knowledge and sources of information, and the former is affected by demographic characteristics. PCA and regression analyses provide a robust methodological framework for the study TWW reuse acceptance, and highlight the importance of communication in improving its social sustainability.
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