Are Australians confident about their water quality?

Posted 24 March 2017

Biological Wastewater TreatmentCompared to other countries, relatively few Australians think wastewater poses a threat to their water quality, according to a recent survey. 

An Ipsos poll revealed that 47% of Australians feel their water quality is assured now and into the future, while only 22% were concerned this wasn’t true

Of the 27 countries included in the study, only Hungary, Germany, Great Britain and Sweden demonstrated higher levels of confidence in the safety of their water supply, said Ipsos Social Research Institute Director Stuart Clark. 

“Most global citizens lack confidence in today’s wastewater treatment systems and are even more worried about the impact of growth and the risk it poses to clean water supplies in the future,” he said. 

More than 18,000 people were surveyed worldwide, with more than 1000 Australians taking part. 

The study aimed to encourage the theme of this year’s World Water Day, ‘why waste water?’, and support of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to improve water quality by reducing, treating and reusing wastewater.

The majority of wastewater from homes, cities, industry and agriculture is lost without being treated or reused. 

Of considerably more concern than the danger of wastewater was the threat that industry posed to clean water.

Nearly half of international respondents expressed concern that residential and industrial growth in their country over the next five to 10 years will put their water quality at risk.

While Australia’s concern was lower, it was still significant: 38% of those surveyed were worried about the impact such development would have on clean water, and less than a quarter were unconcerned. 

However, the future is looking up. More countries and companies are starting to take notice of their environmental footprint, said Clark.

“Increasingly, governments and private sector organisations are implementing changes that better align their organisations to help them reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.   

“Ensuring proper wastewater treatment will help countries achieve the UN goal to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’.”