As climate change and urbanization affect current water management systems, new solutions and approaches rooted in public acceptance are needed to ensure future water supply. In this study, we examine public attitudes to reuse of recycled water and associated worldviews, values, and perceptions in a site without historical water issues. A survey of 143 randomly sampled residents in the municipality of the growing Swedish town Knivsta revealed that 81.4% of the respondents had a positive attitude towards using recycled water in general. The results did not indicate any differences in attitudes between those living in and outside the municipality's urban areas. Perceived benefits and risks were found to be significantly related to both attitudes towards using recycled water in general and to the extreme case of using it for drinking purposes. Additionally, trust in public authorities was highly predictive of attitudes towards drinking recycled water. Furthermore, attitudes were found to be related to an environmental worldview and underlying biospheric, altruistic, and hedonic values. This indicates a need to consider the intended purpose as well as engaging with underlying values as part of the technology legitimation process for improving the chances of successful implementation of water recycling technologies.

  • Examining public attitudes to water reuse in a site without historical water issues.

  • More than 80% had a positive attitude towards using recycled water in general.

  • Nuanced relationships uncovered between public attitudes and perceptions.

  • Attitudes also related to alignment with an environmental worldview and values.

  • Tailoring approaches and engaging with values is the key in the technology legitimation.

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