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New poll reveals young people half as likely to conserve water than their elders

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Rainwater recovery
  • New poll published today, to coincide with the UN’s World Water Day 2016, finds that only 44% of young people know what steps to take to conserve water, in comparison with 82% of 65+ year olds.
  • The survey also found that 90% of the respondents acknowledge the role water plays in healthy hydration, and securing a global sustainable future, yet 86% still believed there should be more educational programmes on the importance of water stewardship in their region.
  • To mark the global celebrations, Nestlé Waters and Project WET are joining forces to teach children in the UK about water stewardship, healthy hydration and the small steps they can take at home to make a real difference.

Young people are half as likely as their elders to take steps to conserve water, according to new poll published today. On average 44% of 18-24 year olds are likely to take action to preserve water, in comparison to 82% of 65+ year olds.

The findings also reveal that while a majority (55%) agree that not enough is currently being done to conserve water in their region, over a third of young people are not aware of the steps they can and should take to make a difference.

Despite over 90% of the respondents to the survey acknowledging the role water plays in our bodies through healthy hydration, and securing a global sustainable future, 86% still believed there should be more educational programmes on the importance of water stewardship in their region.

The poll, commissioned by Nestlé Waters, coincides with celebrations for this year’s World Water Day on the 22nd March 2016. The international day, organised by the United Nations, is an annual event that sees participants all over the world taking part in activities which highlight the importance of fresh water globally.

In support of the celebrations, Nestlé Waters and Project WET, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to educate children, parents, teachers and the community about the vital role water plays in our lives, have today teamed up to teach children about water stewardship and healthy hydration in around 30 countries.

Commenting on the poll, John Etgen, Senior Vice President at the Project WET Foundation said:

“Today’s findings reveal the knowledge gap between the older and younger generations when it comes to water conservation, and highlights the role of education initiatives in ensuring young people know what steps can be taken to conserve our water for generations to come. 

"Our global partnership with Nestle Waters is critical in allowing us to reach people across the world to promote water and sustainable development on World Water Day and we are thrilled to be working together again this year to inform the generations who are most in need”.

Sian Chapman, Head of Communications and External Relations at Nestlé Waters said:

“While I am delighted that 91% of respondents to today’s poll understand the importance of healthy hydration to their bodies, the results also show the need for us as a society, and a business, to continue to share our knowledge and expertise of water with the wider community – and what better day to do so than World Water Day!

"Through our partnership with Project WET we are proud to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation and hydration to young people and provide them with the knowledge they need to secure a sustainable future.”

Matthew Faulkner, Water Quality Assurance Manager at Nestlé Waters said:

“At Nestlé Waters we work closely with nature every day and work hard to promote water stewardship, encourage sustainable use and protect unique water sources.

"However, responsible water management does not stop at being best-in-class within the walls of our factories, but extends to collective actions with other water stakeholders to ensure the long-term sustainability.

"There are many simple things we can do to save and protect our water sources, and we encourage everyone to make a small change to their daily routine to mark this year’s World Water Day!”.

The Project WET programme, designed by over 300 leading educators, is delivered to schools across the world. It aims to inspire a lifelong respect for water and encourage children to think of creative ways to protect and preserve it, including simple steps we can take in the home. These include:

1. Turning off the tap – By turning off the tap while you brush your teeth in the morning or before bedtime, you can save up to 36 litres of water! That adds up to more than 909 litres a month, enough to fill a huge fish tank that holds 6 small sharks!

2. Taking a shower, rather than a bath – Taking a shower uses much less water than filling up a bath. A shower uses approximately a third less water or less. But if you do have a bath make sure you put the plug in first before you turn the taps on.

3. Choosing when to water the garden – The best time for you to water a garden is early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cool outside. Watering when it’s hot and sunny is wasteful because most of the water evaporates before the plants have time to absorb it. 

4. Dusting off the bucket and sponge – When washing your bike or the car; try using a bucket and sponge instead of a hose. A hose can use 27 litres of water per minute, whereas a bucket and sponge will use only a few litres in total.

5. Put it in the bin – Don’t throw litter into rivers, lakes or oceans. Help clean up any litter you see on beaches or in rivers and lakes, make sure it is safe to collect the litter and put it in a nearby dustbin.
Nestlé Waters and Project WET have been working together in a global partnership to expand water education among teachers and children internationally for over 20 years. Every World Water Day, they educate thousands of children and communities around the world to respect water in ‘Together 4 Water’ events.  This year marks the sixth anniversary of their work together in UK, where they have used a range of hands-on classroom activities such as the 'drop in a bucket' experiment with teachers and children aged from 8 to 12 years old.



Notes to Editors

About the survey
Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,121 UK adults aged 18+ from its online panel between 26-28 February 2016.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at

About Nestlé Waters
Nestlé Waters is the world’s leading bottled water company, boasting a product portfolio of plain and sparkling water brands including S. Pellegrino, Aqua Panna, Perrier, Buxton Natural Mineral Water and Nestlé Pure Life. Nestlé Waters takes pride in helping its local communities and the environment with a variety initiatives.  The company has invested over £35million in a state-of-the-art factory in Buxton and produces one of the lightest weight bottled water products in the UK, using an average of 25 per cent less PET plastic across the range of Buxton and Nestlé Pure Life. The factory achieved BREEAM Excellent for sustainable building and design and the Nestlé Waters business in the UK has been independently audited as zero waste to landfill. The company also supports biodiversity on its site with a butterfly meadow.

About Project WET
Since 1984, the Project WET Foundation has been dedicated to reaching children, parents, teachers and community members with action-oriented water education that enables every child to understand and value water, ensuring a sustainable future. Project WET ("WET" stands for "Water Education for Teachers") is active in all 50 U.S. states and more than 70 countries worldwide.

About World Water Day
World Water Day is an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development where an international observance for water was recommended. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. It has been held annually since then. Each year, UN-Water — the entity that coordinates the UN’s work on water and sanitation — sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. The engagement campaign is coordinated by one or several of the UN-Water Members with a related mandate.