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Why Cleaned Wastewater Stays Dirty In Our Minds

The biggest barrier to water reuse may be psychological, not technological.

Brent Haddad studies water in a place where water is often in short supply: California.

Haddad is a professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. About 14 years ago, he became very interested in the issue of water reuse.

At the time, a number of California's local water agencies were proposing a different approach to the state's perennial water problems. They wanted to build plants that would clean local wastewater -- aka sewage water -- and after that cleaning, make it available as drinking water. But, says Haddad, these proposals were consistently shot down by an unwilling public. ...