Social Perception of Public Water Supply Network and Groundwater Quality in an Urban Setting Facing Saltwater Intrusion and Water Shortages

Ibrahim Alameddine, Gheeda Jawhari, Mutasem El-Fadel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Perceptions developed by consumers regarding the quality of water reaching their household can affect the ultimate use of the water. This study identified key factors influencing consumers’ perception of water quality in a highly urbanized coastal city, experiencing chronic water shortages, overexploitation of groundwater, and accelerated saltwater intrusion. Household surveys were administered to residents to capture views and perceptions of consumed water. Concomitantly, groundwater and tap water samples were collected and analyzed at each residence for comparison with perceptions. People’s rating of groundwater quality was found to correlate to the measured water quality both in the dry and wet seasons. In contrast, perceptions regarding the water quality of the public water supply network did not show any correlation with the measured tap water quality indicators. Logistic regression models developed to predict perception based on salient variables indicated that age, apartment ownership, and levels of total dissolved solids play a significant role in shaping perceptions regarding groundwater quality. Perceptions concerning the water quality of the public water supply network appeared to be independent of the measured total dissolved solids levels at the tap but correlated to those measured in the wells. The study highlights misconceptions that can arise as a result of uncontrolled cross-connections of groundwater to the public supply network water and the development of misaligned perceptions based on prior consumption patterns, water shortages, and a rapidly salinizing groundwater aquifer.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)571-583
    Number of pages13
    JournalEnvironmental Management
    Volume59
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

    Keywords

    • Groundwater
    • Public water supply
    • Saltwater intrusion
    • Water quality perception

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