This paper examines the impact of public opinion, time, and the ‘yuck’ factor in influencing the formation of water reuse norms based on an analysis of newspaper content observed in two locations: Singapore and Queensland, Australia. A simple regression analysis shows that time and the ‘yuck’ factor were significant factors in norm formation but, surprisingly, public opinion was not found to be a significant factor. The results show that public opinion, long held to be an important factor, may not be significant in the sense in which it is commonly conceived. It also shows how perception can be shaped to promote water reuse policies in the urban sector. The formation of water norms was found to be crucial in determining the different outcomes in the implementation of water reuse policies in the two countries.