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Study shows overall concern for quality of household water supply is growing

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2023 WQA Consumer Opinion Study results show marked increase

LAS VEGAS, NV. – Consumers report being far more concerned about the quality of their household water supply this year than in any previous year they have been surveyed as part of the Water Quality Association’s biennial Consumer Opinion Study. WQA is releasing the results of the 2023 Consumer Opinion Study during its Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas this week. 

Survey results also indicated that while the overall perception of household tap water safety is high, safety concerns still remain. Also, more consumers are taking a larger role in improving their home water quality through the use of water treatment products, and they are more knowledgeable about the types of products available, results showed.

“This shows us that more and more consumers care about the quality of their water,” said WQA Associate Executive Director Tom Bruursema. “The water treatment industry as a whole, and WQA member companies specifically, are well-equipped to provide the solutions to these quality concerns.”

This year, a third of those surveyed (34%) reported being very concerned with the quality of their household water supply, and another quarter (24%) described themselves as “concerned.” In 2021, less than one-quarter (23%) were very concerned and only 15% were concerned.

When it comes to perceptions of drinking water, the survey found this year almost three-fifths (59%) of households think their drinking water is safe versus 57% in 2021; however, this year 20% thought their drinking water was unsafe versus 15% in 2021.

Those with a home water filtration system other than a refrigerator water filter has grown significantly since 2021. The survey found almost half (45%) of households reported having a water filtration system in the home in 2023, whereas in 2021 only two-fifths (40%) had one.

Bottled water usage, which had been slipping in previous studies, remained similar to the previous study with seven in 10 households (71%) purchasing bottled water. Almost half (49%) did so because of the taste. The other primary driver was convenience.

Finally, lack of knowledge and cost concerns are two of the major deterrents among those who currently do not have a water treatment product. Still, two-thirds (65%) said they would consider installing a water treatment product if they undertake a major home improvement project.

The survey comes at a time of heightened awareness of water quality issues in Washington. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed the first National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for six PFAS chemicals. In addition, the WQA-backed bipartisan Healthy H2O Act, which would offer federal grants for water quality testing and certified treatment technology in rural and underserved communities, has been introduced in both houses of Congress.

A public summary of the 2023 results is now available at wqa.org/COS. More detailed reports will be made available to WQA members in coming weeks.

The WQA Consumer Opinion Study presents the findings of a national online survey conducted by Applied Research-West, Inc. between January 5 and January 30, 2023. A total of 1,413 adults over the age of 18 and living in private households were interviewed. ARW used a random sampling procedure, and the survey results are accurate within +/- 2.6 percent.

WQA is a not-for-profit trade association representing the residential, commercial, and industrial water treatment industry. WQA’s education and professional certification programs have been providing industry-standardized training and credentialing since 1977.  The WQA Gold Seal certification program has been certifying products that contribute to the safe consumption of water since 1959. The WQA Gold Seal program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). WQA publishes a consumer-friendly website, BetterWaterToday.org.

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