Survey finds only 67% of Wisconsin public trusts tap water

Report this content

October 21st is the "Imagine a Day Without Water” day. #valuewater

Milwaukee – October 21 – Only 67% percent of the Wisconsin public trusts their tap water is safe to drink according to a new international consumer survey commissioned by Kemira, a global leader in water treatment chemistry. That means about 1 in 3 Wisconsinites is either unsure about or does not trust their tap water at home.

The survey included 7,963 people from seven US states and five European countries. Kemira commissioned it to better understand public sentiments related to water and to raise awareness of the challenges facing the water supply.

The survey found that public confidence in drinking water quality is generally low across the US. A mere 60% of Americans believe their tap water is trustworthy enough to drink. The top reasons people don’t trust their water are fear of contaminants, chemicals, bacteria, disease and old infrastructure.

“Everyone deserves access to clean, safe drinking water regardless of where they live,” said Michael Cavallero, Kemira’s regional vice president. “While most drinking water is safe, unfortunately that is not true everywhere across Wisconsin or the US. As a result, the public seriously questions water quality.”

What Wisconsinites had to say about water

There were 400 survey respondents from Wisconsin. Through the survey, Kemira found that many people are unaware of basic information related to the water supply which may contribute to the high level of distrust. About half of the people in Wisconsin said they do not have a good understanding of where their water comes from, how it gets to their home or where it goes after they use it.

Drinking water in Wisconsin comes from public water utilities or private wells. The state has 11,525 public water systems, the largest number in the country. Most of the public utilities source drinking water from groundwater. However, some of the larger cities, including Milwaukee and Green Bay, source drinking water from surface waters like rivers and lakes. Ultimately, one-third of Wisconsin residents drink water from rivers and lakes.

The Wisconsin Department of Health reports that some of the state’s drinking water supply contains chemicals that affect human health. They publish an annual water quality report that explains the water sources, whether there have been issues or violations of state and federal law, and challenges to the water supply. Their most recent report noted that Wisconsin’s water infrastructure will need about $8.5 billion of upgrades by 2034.

Kemira shared the survey results today on the sixth annual “Imagine a Day Without Water”, a national education campaign organized by the US Water Alliance to highlight the importance of water and the need for investment in American water infrastructure. Kemira supplies a variety of water treatment chemistry and digital monitoring solutions.

“We're thrilled that Kemira is a part of Imagine a Day Without Water. This national day of action educates our neighbors and public officials about the essential role water plays in all of our lives,” said Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance. “This year showed us the critical importance of water service to safeguard public health and the economy. But the infrastructure and service it takes to bring water to our homes and businesses and take it away is not free and can’t be taken for granted. We all need to educate ourselves about where our water comes from and the investment these critical systems need.” 

The full survey results are on Kemira’s website 

For more information, please contact:

Michael Cavallero
Vice President, Commercial, Kemira
michael.cavallero @

Kemira is a global chemicals company serving customers in water intensive industries. We provide best suited products and expertise to improve our customers’ product quality, process and resource efficiency. Our focus is on pulp & paper, oil & gas and water treatment. In 2019, Kemira had annual revenue of around EUR 2.7 billion and over 5,000 employees. Kemira shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd.