This paper describes a new method of measuring drinking water quality perceptions. Expert knowledge was captured and developed into a model which characterises the potentially hazardous processes inherent in the supply of drinking water. The methodology is based on the psychological framework of “mental modelling” and compares differences in knowledge between water industry experts and lay people. Qualitative studies revealed striking differences between the two groups. These findings are being used to evaluate and improve communications between water companies and their customers about the risks associated with drinking water.

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