World Risk Poll reveals public perceptions about water services

In October, Lloyd’s Register Foundation – funder of the International Water Security Network (IWSN) – launched its World Risk Poll, “the first ever complete picture of the differences between people’s thoughts about, and experiences of risk…based on over 150,000 interviews by Gallup in 142 countries.”

In a short commentary highlighting some of the insights about the global water crisis emerging from the Poll, Sera Young and Joshua Miller (Northwestern University) and IWSN Director Chad Staddon note:

“It is estimated that nearly three-quarters of households worldwide currently use a safely managed drinking water service. Yet more than a third of respondents in 122 of the 142 countries sampled in the World Risk Poll reported that it is “very” or “somewhat likely” that their drinking water will cause them serious harm in the next two years. Individuals in high-income countries with highly regulated, networked water systems also reported issues. In the United States, for example, almost 40% of individuals believed that their drinking water was likely to cause them harm.”

This is important because “public perceptions about the management and relative safety of water influences health behaviors, regardless of objective drinking water quality. For instance, individuals who do not trust the quality of their water report greater stress and depression, and are more likely to substitute water with sugary beverages that can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cavities.”

The full commentary is available here.