AWWA poll reveals seven in 10 Americans consider tap water safe

glass of water

Nearly three-in-four people perceive their home’s tap water as safe, according to a survey conducted by data intelligence company Morning Consult on behalf of the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and nearly 80 percent trust their water utility. The June 2022 poll, titled “Public Perceptions of Tap Water,” included 1,977 Americans served by water utilities.

With inflation on the rise in the United States, the most recent survey showed that one-third of respondents were struggling to pay their water bill on time, an 8 percent increase from June 2021. The consumer price index rose 9.1 percent from June 2021 to June 2022.

This poll was conducted between June 22-23, 2022, and it reflects a sample of 1,977 U.S. respondents receiving water from a public water supply. The interviews were conducted online. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

The survey showed approximately 70 percent of respondents rate the quality of water at their faucet as excellent or good, a level nearly equal to a similar survey conducted in June 2021. survey. However, fewer Black adults rated their water as “safe” (6 percent decline) and more rated their water “unsafe” (7 percent increase) compared to June 2021. At the same time, Black adults (26 percent) and Hispanic adults (22 percent) were more likely than White adults (16 percent) to report that the safety of their water supply has improved over the past five years.

“It’s good to see the vast majority of people have confidence in both their tap water and their water utility,” said AWWA CEO David LaFrance. “At the same time, we have work to do to gain and maintain trust in tap water, especially in communities where historical inequities have existed. With affordability challenges rising, focusing on disadvantaged communities is even more important.”

Seventy-seven percent of respondents indicated they have “a lot” or “some” trust in their water utility. Respondents who are aware of the frequent water quality tests at their utility indicated a much higher level of trust than those who are unaware. Three-fourths of respondents (73 percent) say they are generally satisfied with the water. However, that figure rose to 88 percent among those who said they are aware of frequent testing.

Approximately three-fourths of respondents say they are generally, very or somewhat satisfied with the water at their faucet. Respondents’ satisfaction with their water utility has increased by 4 percent since the June 2021 survey.

Three-fourths of respondents strongly or somewhat support continuing Congressional assistance to help with paying water bills for those who may not be able to afford it. Respondents across key demographics show support for this policy, with the most support expressed by Black respondents. The struggle to pay a water bill is most strongly expressed by lower-income, Black and Hispanic respondents.

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