Survey Finds Americans Concerned About Home Water

Independent survey finds more willingness to pay for water treatment

Water Quality Assn. Survey Americans Concerned About Home Water

More than half of Americans have concerns about the quality of their water – and are increasingly showing a willingness to pay for treatment in the home.

These are among the conclusions of an independent survey released at the WQA Aquatech USA 2013 convention. The random sample survey, conducted by Applied Research-West Inc., offers a look into Americans' evolving attitudes about their water.

"As awareness increases, consumers are looking more and more for ways to protect themselves and their families," said Dave Haataja, executive director of the Water Quality Assn.

Among the major findings:

  • A quarter of consumers are "extremely concerned" about the quality of their water supply. Fully, 52% list their level of concern at a four or five out of five.
  • Increasing numbers of Americans say their primary concern over their water quality is related to contaminants. That percentage is 29 in this year's survey, compared to 22% in 2008. Water taste concerns also have increased.
  • Only about two-thirds of consumers say primary responsibility for quality water is outside the home, with their municipality, down from nearly three-quarters in 2008. More than 20% believe they are primarily responsible for the own water quality.

The survey showed that slightly more than half, or 55%, consider themselves somewhat or very knowledgeable about contaminants in their tap water. Respondents are concerned, with nearly 80% believing that tap water contains chloramines, and nearly as many thinking lead is present.

"The final barrier for many communities will be the solution," Haataja said. "More than 99% of the water coming into our homes is not used for drinking. By putting protection at or near the tap, consumers can protect the water that is most important to them. That is the concept behind the final barrier approach."

The findings also reveal that boil water alerts tend to trigger purchase of water filtration systems. In fact, boil water alerts have been growing slightly in number over each survey period.

There was an increase from a 2011 survey of people that would be willing to pay more on their water bill for removal of MTBEs or pharmaceuticals found in their tap water. In addition, they would be willing to pay more for home water treatment systems to remove biological waste, arsenic, lead and other contaminants.

Further, there have been significant increases in the use of bottled water and those that have water filtration systems installed in their homes.

Water Quality Assn.

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