Socio-economic and psychological predictors of domestic greywater and rainwater collection: Evidence from Australia

Anthony M. Ryan*, Clive L. Spash, Thomas G. Measham

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The importance of securing water supply necessitates that all options be explored. Research has indicated that demand on water catchments can be substantially decreased when a large proportion of households reuse greywater and/or install rainwater tanks. This paper reports on an internet survey completed by 354 households residing in the Australian Capital Territory and surrounding regions. Statistical analyses examined the relationship between socio-economic and psychological variables and the likelihood of the garden being irrigated with greywater and/or rainwater. The results show income, gender, age and education could not differentiate residents who were irrigating their garden with water from a tank from residents who were not. Residents who used tank water on their gardens had a higher self-reported understanding of a range of water supply options. Female participants and lower income residents were more likely to use greywater on their garden. Participants who irrigated the garden with greywater were more likely to judge various other water collection and recycling proposals as being appropriate. General concerns about water collection and reuse risks were not found to predict which households used tank water and/or greywater on their garden. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164 - 171
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this research came from the ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services. The authors acknowledge Dr Heinz Schandl and Karin Hosking from the social research team and Shiroma Maheepala who coordinated the larger research program in which this study was situated. The authors would also like to acknowledge Andrew Reeson and David Tucker for helpful comments during the internal review process.


  • Economics
  • Greywater
  • Rainwater tank
  • Social psychology

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