Nearly three quarters of Americans agree there is currently a global climate crisis, according to research released today. The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of SUEZ – Water Technologies & Solutions ahead of Earth Day, polled 2,000 Americans on their attitudes toward climate change and water scarcity. Results showed seven in 10 believe they’ll have to change where they live at some point in their lives due to climate change, while 69% of respondents were in agreement that water scarcity is a major environmental concern of theirs.
With Americans across the country increasingly concerned about water scarcity, 74% agreed more action needs to be taken in their communities to conserve water. Surprisingly for respondents in the Northwest and Northeast, water scarcity was actually their top climate-related concern – at 45% and 53% respectively. More than one out of every five respondents in the Northwest believe they will personally be affected by a water shortage within the next five years.
The use of recycled water, a technology able to combat scarcity, was one area where the survey found widespread acceptance. More than one-third of respondents would drink recycled water, and nearly half are open to its use for irrigation. Just 5% of Americans say they wouldn’t be comfortable using recycled water for any purpose.
Overall, 70% of respondents said they either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that there was a stigma associated with recycled water. Three-quarters of respondents appear to be so worried about water scarcity, they’re even willing to see their taxes increase if it meant their city or municipality would invest more in protecting their local water supply.
"Leaders across the world are fully engaged with the global health crisis, and this is how it should be," said Yuvbir Singh, CEO for SUEZ – Water Technologies & Solutions. "But the economy will one day rebound, and the environmental challenges like climate change and water scarcity that existed before the pandemic will still be there. I think the world will emerge from this crisis more prepared and eager than ever to tackle big problems."
"There’s a bit of nuance here, because it seems that while most Americans accept the use of recycled water, they aren’t sure their communities are ready to take the plunge," Singh added. "This really highlights the need for broader educational campaigns about the safety of this technology, and further investment in sustainable infrastructure and industrial projects.”
In the Southwest, water reuse technology is used more often, yet just 3% of respondents believed they would suffer a water shortage in the next year, and 11% don’t believe they will ever suffer a water shortage.
"While concerns about availability of water run high in the U.S., this is a truly global issue. In five years, half of the world’s population will live in water stressed regions. But the threat of water scarcity does not have to become reality," Singh said. "The technology to reuse our most precious resource exists today and can help solve global water scarcity."
This random double-opt in survey was conducted by OnePoll – a market research company and corporate member of both the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR) – and adheres to the MRS code of conduct. For more information about OnePoll’s research in the media, navigate to their portfolio here.