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Study suggests ‘worrisome indifference’ to water quality


April 1, 2015
By Ground Water Canada

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April 1, 2015, Toronto – The quality of that water is second only to hospitals in terms of what
Canadians want their taxes to fund, ahead of roads, schools and public
transit, but as
confidence has risen, the value they put on our clean
drinking water has slipped, suggests a RBC study.

April 1, 2015, Toronto – The quality of that water is second only to hospitals in terms of what
Canadians want their taxes to fund, ahead of roads, schools and public
transit, but as
confidence has risen, the value they put on our clean
drinking water has slipped, suggests a RBC study.

 

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This is one of the findings from the 8th annual RBC Canadian
Water Attitudes Study, supported by the RBC Blue Water Project, which
also shows concern for protecting the water supply has led to very high
ratings for municipal drinking water quality, with 73 per cent of
Canadians being confident in their local tap water. However, as
confidence has risen, the value that Canadians put on their clean
drinking water has slipped.

 

The RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study suggested that:

  • 70 per cent of Canadians know the cost of their electricity while
    only 39 per cent know how much money their household spends on water.
  • 63 per cent either don’t have or don’t know if they have a water meter in their home.
  • A quarter of Canadians (25 per cent) don’t care where their water comes from, as long as it tastes good.

 

The results show that although public concern for water funding is
high, Canadians do not appreciate the value of their drinking water.

 

“Our obvious thirst for clean drinking water does not match our
appreciation for what we have at our fingertips,” explained Bob
Sandford, chair for Water Security at the United Nations Institute for
Water, Environment and Health, in a news release from RBC. “Canadians have one of the world’s best
supplies of fresh water and being able to go to the tap to fill our
glasses is something for which we all can be grateful.”

 

The results draw attention to a worrisome trend of indifference among
young Canadians in particular, in their respect of clean drinking
water. Although 90 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 rely on a
municipal water supply, they show the least concern for and trust of the
quality of their tap water.

  • 18- to-34-year-olds are most likely to feel that it is not their
    responsibility to protect drinking water sources (22 per cent, versus 14
    per cent of Canadians over the age of 55)
  • They have the lowest confidence in the quality of their local tap
    water (67 per cent, versus 81 per cent of Canadians over the age of 55)
  • They are most likely to prefer to filter their tap water (44 per
    cent, versus 31 per cent of Canadians over 55) and think bottled water
    is safer than tap water (43 per cent, versus 20 per cent of Canadians
    over the age of 55).

Canada possesses nearly 6.5 per cent of the world’s supply of fresh
water, making it one of the nation’s most valued treasures. Moreover,
Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index shows that Canada has
the second-best water-quality ranking among selected industrialized
countries.

 

“Most Canadians have never experienced the fear that comes with
losing confidence in their water supply,” said Sandford in the release. “Those that
have lived through a water-crisis, with boil water alerts and all that a
crisis entails, can attest to a very real understanding of how much our
water matters. It shouldn’t require an escalated event for Canadians to
wake up and value this irreplaceable resource.”

 

For more information
on the Canadian Water Attitudes Study and The RBC Blue Water Project
visit www.rbc.com/bluewater.

 

Read the full report.