WIT Press


How Urban Residents Improve Their Satisfaction With Drinking Water In The Pacific Northwest, USA

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/UW160121

Volume

165

Pages

12

Page Range

131 - 142

Published

2016

Size

324 kb

Author(s)

R. L. Mahler, M. E. Barber

Abstract

Urban residents of the Pacific Northwest region of the USA consider drinking water their most important water resource issue. We surveyed the urban public about their satisfaction with their drinking water in 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2015. Data were collected using statistically designed mail-based surveys. The 2015 survey was designed to probe further into residents’ usage of bottled water, in-sink filters and other ways urban consumers improved the quality of their drinking water. Each of the four surveys was sent to more than 2,200 randomly chosen residents of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Return rates in excess of 50% were received for each survey ensuring that the results are statistically valid. Over 84% of the urban residents consider their drinking water safe. Despite the high level of satisfaction with the drinking water resource 2015 survey numbers indicated that 18.6, 24.7 and 39.9% of the survey respondents use water softeners, bottled water and water filters as an add on to their municipally supplied drinking water, respectively. The use of in-house water filters in urban areas has significantly increased with time (25% in 2002 vs. 40% in 2015). Public campaigns to discourage the waste associated (plastic and energy) with bottled water are starting to impact homeowner use. Overall, the urban public is satisfied that their home drinking water is safe; however, there is enough skepticism to feed large markets for both filters and bottled water in urban areas of the region. This is in contrast to less urban areas where the use of in-home water filters and bottled water is 44 and 52% lower, respectively.

Keywords

public opinion, drinking water issues, bottled water, water filters, home water treatment