Study Shows Americans Fear Lack of Clean Drinking Water

July 5, 2017
Nationwide research compiles opinions from various population groups

On behalf of Nestlé Waters North America, the global market research firm PSB completed an online study: “Perspectives on America’s Water.” The research shows that access to clean drinking water and the nation’s water infrastructure are major concerns for Americans across the country. A total of 6,699 American adults shared their views on water-related topics.

The study, the first of its kind to gather both the opinions of the U.S. general population and those of experts in the field, found that water is viewed as the most important natural resource in Americans’ daily lives, more so even than clean air (87% compared to 81%). Yet, 61% of American consumers and 66% of experts characterized water problems as a crisis or major issue for the U.S.

The study found that two in three Americans (66%) believe their own community’s clean drinking water is at risk, while 59% say a major overhaul of U.S. water infrastructure is needed to avoid that possibility. City-dwellers are especially likely to fear their community’s clean drinking water is at risk (70% versus 63% in rural areas). There is almost universal agreement (96%) that if the U.S. does not proactively invest in the country’s water infrastructure system now, it will end up costing more in the long run.

“The takeaways from this study are clear to us: Americans care deeply about the state of their drinking water, and they believe investments in infrastructure and innovation are needed now,” said Nelson Switzer, chief sustainability officer at Nestlé Waters North America. “It’s our hope that these insights will accelerate the pace of conversation and jump-start concrete actions needed to address our shared water challenges. At Nestlè Waters we believe that access to safe and secure drinking water is a fundamental human right and we know we all have a role, responsibility and obligation to contribute to making this a reality.”

The audiences included general population Americans (mapped to the U.S. Census on key demographics); an oversample of general population respondents in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia; Opinion Elites, Health/Environmentally-Conscious Consumers; Government Officials, Academics, NGO Employees, Utility Company Business Decision Makers, and Engineers.