Bottled water only, please: 1 in 4 refuse to drink from tap — despite knowing it’s safe

NEW YORK — What’s an interesting topic you’re passionate about? A new study reveals the debate on tap versus bottled water is a hot one. The survey polled 2,004 Americans to analyze their water drinking habits and discovered that two in three agree they have strong opinions on where they get their drinking water.

Water Habits OpinionsNearly seven in 10 trust that their tap water is safe to drink, yet nearly one in four still refuse to drink it. In fact, 54 percent say they would not drink tap water anywhere outside of their homes. Despite these strong preferences toward bottled water, 36 percent add they always end up refilling a plastic bottle with tap water.

So why are Americans opting for bottled water instead of tap? Among the 69 percent of respondents who prefer bottle to tap, 32 percent say it’s simply a shopping habit.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of American Water, the survey also finds the pandemic is causing a tectonic shift in America’s water consumption habits. Thirty six percent stopped buying bottled water due to supply shortages during the pandemic.

With this shift in shopping habits also comes a shift in their consumption habits as 37 percent say they honestly can’t remember why they prefer bottled over tap.

The green effect

Water Habits OpinionsAs Americans turn to the tap for a drink, they’ve noticed this has changed their water consumption on all fronts. In fact, 45 percent of the poll now waste less water at home as they struggle through the pandemic – noting they turn off the faucet when brushing their teeth and not wasting water before getting into the shower.

One water drinking habit that may need to shift, however, is how much Americans are drinking. The average respondent only drinks 4.5 cups of water a day. However, six in 10 drink upwards of five glasses. This lack of hydration circles back to what side of the bottled vs. tap debate do Americans fall on. Fifty-five percent catch themselves drinking less water if they don’t have bottled water nearby.

“There are many reasons why tap water should be the ‘go-to’ for hydration needs,” says Matthew Corson, Director of Environmental Compliance at American Water, in a statement. “Replacing bottled water with a trip to the kitchen sink is a better choice for the environment in a more affordable manner.”

So where do the concerns about tap water come from?

Of those polled who feel their tap water is not safe to drink, the top concern revolves around taste (55%), possible contamination (54%), and the fear it’s not clean (50%).

With these concerns on water quality, researchers also asked Americans about how they would navigate a water quality report from their utility company and discovered that two in three people are confident they’d be able to understand the findings.

“The privilege of providing households with an essential resource comes with the responsibility to help keep it both clean and safe,” says Corson.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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