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National voter poll on water access, affordability, and safety

a hand under a stream of clear spring water

Water pollution and drinking water safety remain top priorities for U.S. voters. As communities, utilities, and advocates work to channel federal infrastructure dollars from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we wanted to evaluate how voters are feeling about water infrastructure priorities, water access and affordability, and the emerging threat of PFAS “forever chemicals” to drinking water.

We partnered with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication on this national poll of 2,051 registered voters in the U.S. Key findings include:

  • Water tops the list of investment priorities for voters. 68% of voters say drinking water and sewage infrastructure should be a top priority for investment by the U.S. government compared to other infrastructure priorities like renewable energy (59%), the electricity grid (56%), roads (49%), or flood defenses (32%).
  • When asked about potential investments in community water infrastructure, voters say drinking water safety (92%) and affordable water bills (85%) are important goals.
  • When asked about current water challenges, voters are most concerned about pollution of lakes and rivers (89%), flooding (88%), and drinking water contamination (86%).
  • 58% of voters are concerned about the impact of climate change on drinking water safety.
  • Voters are concerned that PFAS (“forever chemicals that do not break down”) (67%), outdated infrastructure (63%), lead in drinking water (62%), and agricultural pollution (62%) threaten drinking water safety.
  • Voters overwhelmingly agree (89%) that access to safe, affordable water is a human right, consistent with last year’s results.
  • 79% of voters support the U.S. government helping lower-income families with their water bills.

The survey of 2,051 registered voters in the United States (18+) was conducted on August 11, 2023, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.3%.