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President's Report (Arlene Ellis)
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National LWV - News Release
Return of TheBus to Hotel Street Transit Mall
Roster Update - September, 1987 - April, 1988

National LWV - News Release

Washington, D.C. -- The protection of drinking water supplies is the number-one local environmental concern for members of the League of Women Voters, according to the results of a nationwide survey released by the League of Women Voters Education Fund.

When asked by the survey to prioritize local environmental health concerns, League members ranked "ensuring the safety of community drinking water supplies" first. Hazardous waste--often linked to drinking water contamination--was rated by League members as the most important national environmental health concern.

More than 11,000 members of the League of Women Voters participated in the LWVEF survey, which was designed to identify local environmental health concerns and to assess citizens' perceptions of drinking water and water-quality issues. Conducted in 570 communities in 48 states, the survey found that an overwhelming percentage of League members would pay extra for safe drinking water. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed would be willing to pay higher water bills to remove a suspected (but not proven) cancer-causing agent from drinking water. Twenty-seven percent would pay an additional $20 per month to remove the suspected carcinogen.

While League members are concerned with protecting drinking water supplies, their concern is balanced by generally favorable reviews of current water quality. Seventy-six percent of the survey's respondents are at least "somewhat confident" that their utility is meeting federal and state water quality standards, and 73 percent consider their water a "good value" after weighing cost against water quality.

The LWVEF survey found, however, that confidence in local water quality is not always based on a thorough knowledge of drinking-water issues and facts. Among the survey's self-selected sample of League members, who are generally considered well informed on community issues, 20 percent did not know if their drinking water comes from ground or surface supplies, and 25 percent could not estimate the average monthly cost of their tap water. Also, a surprising 57 percent could not identify the most serious health contaminant in their drinking water.

The perceptions survey was designed to prepare League members for the LWVEF Water Quality Issues Survey--the first nationwide community-based survey of drinking water conditions. The LWVEF will use the results of the Water Quality Issues Survey to assist local chapters in their efforts to design model educational projects addressing waterquality issues and concerns.

Support for the League's Safe Drinking Water Project has been provided by the William H. Donner Foundation, the Overbrook Foundation, Texaco, the General Waterworks Corporation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Dated: February 22, 1988

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