Xylem survey reveals Californians’ support for recycled water as a long-term drought solution

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California residents are overwhelmingly supportive of using treated wastewater, or recycled water, in their everyday lives, according to a statewide survey released by Xylem Inc. The survey found that 76% of respondents believe recycled water should be used as a long-term solution for managing water resources, regardless of whether or not a water shortage continues.

Nearly half, or 49% of respondents are very supportive of using recycled water as an additional local water supply and another 38% are somewhat supportive. The survey defined recycled water as former wastewater that has been treated and purified so that it can be reused for drinking purposes. Of survey respondents, 42% are very willing to use recycled water in their everyday lives and an additional 41% are somewhat willing. These findings confirm that there is a significant number of Californians who support the use of recycled water.

According to the findings, 89% of residents are more willing to use recycled water after reading an educational statement explaining the treatment processes that recycled wastewater undergoes to become safe and drinkable again. Further, 88% agree that seeing a demonstration of the water purification process would make them more comfortable using and drinking recycled water. These findings suggest that education is a key component in gaining even stronger support for recycled water across the state.

Californians do not view the use of recycled water as a short-term fix to the state’s five-year drought. Eighty-eight percent of California residents agree that even if El Niño brings increased rainfall to California, the state should continue to invest in the use of recycled water for drinking purposes. In fact, if El Niño brings the expected rainfall to California, only 12% of respondents say it would cause them to be less concerned about saving water.

About the Poll

Xylem Inc. commissioned research firm Edelman Intelligence to conduct an online survey with a total of 3,000 randomly selected California voters from January 14-30, 2016. Each term (recycled water, purified water and reclaimed water) term was evaluated by approximately 1,000 randomly sampled voters. The margin of error for 1,000 respondents is +/- 3.1%.