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AMES, Iowa — A survey of Iowa attitudes about water finds that 83% percent of Iowans would be willing to pay at least $10 per year in fees or taxes to help improve Iowa’s Water.

“One of the questions we asked was looking at if individuals would be willing to pay $10 in taxes and fees. 83 percent of Iowans would be willing to pay something to improve water quality in the state,” said Andrew Stephenson of the University of Northern Iowa. “The study found of overall issues of concern to residents of Iowa, water was number two, after roads and bridges.”

The study was conducted by the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at the University of Northern Iowa. The survey used four focus groups and conducted phone interviews with 2,080 Iowans.

The study found that when you ask an Iowan about the quality of water, they assume you mean drinking water.

Iowans were asked to rate the quality of their home drinking water out of the tap with no filter. 59 percent rated their drinking water good or excellent, 41 percent fair or poor.

The survey asked about the quality of water where those surveyed were living. 43 percent  said the water had a bad taste, 34 percent were worried about future contamination, and many other concerns were raised including water was clouded or smelled like chlorine.

Iowans were also asked about the change in local lakes, rivers, and creeks over the past ten years. 29 percent said the water was getting worse, 49 percent said there was no change, and 22 percent thought the water was getting better.

“The biggest thing there is a positive mindset toward improving water quality. They are willing to help in some way,” said Stephenson.

The survey found that Iowans did not use the word “streams” to describe small flowing water across fields, but Iowans use the word “creek,” some call it “crik.”

If you would like to read the entire survey, look for “Survey Results” a PDF download on the Iowa DNR website.