As America Marks 50th Anniversary of Clean Water Act, Poll Highlights Agriculture’s Strong Connection to Water
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 2022 — Fifty years ago today, the United States passed the Clean Water Act recognizing that access to clean, safe water is a human right. Decades later, water is at the crux of our battle with climate change, and humans’ relationship with water is changing. Recent polling, released by the Walton Family Foundation and conducted by Morning Consult, reveals that a majority of voters (76%) want bipartisan action on climate change. Further, voters say it is very important to adopt sustainable farming practices to support clean water and reduce air pollution, as well as update the agriculture system to encourage sustainable farming practices supportive of clean water and healthy productive soil.
"Today, nearly 70 percent of our water is used in agriculture. As we celebrate the Clean Water Act and prepare for the next Farm Bill, we need policies that produce healthy foods while conserving water," said Moira Mcdonald, Environment Program Director of the Walton Family Foundation. "There is real unity among Americans to keep our rivers and streams clean, while also supporting farmers. We can - we must - do both."
Key findings from the poll include:
- Voters say it is very important to adopt sustainable farming practices to support clean water and reduce air pollution as well as update the agriculture system to encourage sustainable farming practices supportive of clean water and healthy productive soil.
- Voters agree that we need to do more to protect future generations and we need to act now to conserve our soil and water resources.
- Eighty-three percent of voters agree that farmers have a responsibility to reduce harmful pollutants from reaching U.S. rivers, lakes, and oceans.
- At least four-in-five voters nationally and in the states tested say it is an important or top priority for Congress to reauthorize the U.S. Farm Bill.
- Proposals in the Farm Bill reauthorization that offer incentives, not punishments to farmers, are popular.
- When asked to choose between the government encouraging or not encouraging farmers to use climate-friendly practices, most voters prefer the government to encourage the use of climate-friendly practices.
Explore the full polling results in a dashboard here.
This poll was conducted between July 6-July 7, 2022 among a sample of 1,988 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on gender by age, educational attainment, race, marital status, home ownership, race by educational attainment, 2020 presidential vote, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.