The present study aims to test a model of tap water risk and quality perception. A questionnaire was designed and applied to a convenience sample of 499 people in Portugal. The model includes aesthetic variables (colour, odour, and flavour), contextual indicators and risk perception. Other variables were also considered, including external information, trust in water companies, familiarity with tap water, and past water-related health problems. A behavioural outcome – drinking tap water – was also studied. Due to multivariate non-normality (Mardia's Coefficient (G2,P) = 460.3), the AGLS estimator was used for the structural equation model (SEM). A triangulation approach with multivariate regression analysis was used to explain the use of tap water to drink and to propose a more holistic model that could not be tested using SEM. Results show that perceived water quality is largely influenced by flavour. Other factors, such as perceived risk and contextual indicators, also have a role but their relevance is relatively weak. On the other hand, risk perception seems to be mainly a result of external information, past health problems, and water colour. Finally, the use of tap water to drink at home can be moderately explained and depends mostly on the ability to use alternatives (i.e. bottled water), tap water taste, and perceived risk.

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