When public opposition defeats alternative water projects - The case of Toowoomba Australia

Hurlimann, Anna and Dolnicar, Sara (2010) When public opposition defeats alternative water projects - The case of Toowoomba Australia. Water Research, 44 1: 287-297. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2009.09.020

Author Hurlimann, Anna
Dolnicar, Sara
Title When public opposition defeats alternative water projects - The case of Toowoomba Australia
Journal name Water Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0043-1354
Publication date 2010-01-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2009.09.020
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 44
Issue 1
Start page 287
End page 297
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher I W A Publishing
Language eng
Abstract Located approximately 100 km west of Brisbane, Toowoomba is home to approximately 95,000 people. Surface water from dams is the main source of water for the city. In 2006 the residents of Toowoomba were invited to vote in a referendum (plebiscite) concerning whether or not an indirect potable wastewater reuse scheme should be constructed to supply additional water to the area. At that stage dam levels in Toowoomba were at approximately twenty percent of capacity. Toowoomba residents, after intense campaigning on both sides of the referendum debate, voted against the proposal. In July 2008 dam levels dropped to eleven percent. Stage 5 water restrictions have been in place since September 2006, subsequently mains water must not be used for any outdoor uses. This paper describes in detail how public opposition in the case of Toowoomba's referendum, defeated the proposal for a water augmentation solution. Reasons for the failure are analysed. In so doing, the paper provides valuable insights with respect to public participation in indirect potable reuse proposals, and discusses factors including politics, vested interest and information manipulation. This paper is significant because of the lack of detailed information published about failed water infrastructure projects.
Keyword Water recycling
Public acceptance
Public opposition
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID DP0878338
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: UQ Business School Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 82 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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