Water & infrastructure

What do Americans know about water use and pollution?

Our study sought to gain insight on how informed the public is about two major aspects of industrial water use—how much water is used... and how much water pollution results.

The major U.S. industries interact with water in diverse ways. Some use or pollute water more than others. Do Americans know how the pillars of our economy stack up when it comes to water?

In partnership with APM Research Lab, the Water Main surveyed a representative sample of Americans and asked two questions. Which industry uses the most water? And which pollutes the most water?

Most survey respondants (55%) correctly identified agriculture as the biggest consumer of water. However, only 23% of respondants correctly identified agriculture as the biggest polluter of water. More respondants, 33%, incorrectly thought manufacturing was the biggest polluter.

See the report below to get the full story on what Americans think about industrial water use, and how their perceptions compare to the data.


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