Philadelphia Water Department Comprehensive Survey

Philadelphia Water Department Comprehensive Survey

Featured research and evaluation project

For the past six years, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has commissioned ImpactED to conduct ongoing, mixed-methods research focused on customer experiences and perceptions of PWD. The City of Philadelphia acting through PWD is committed to customer satisfaction and building public support for its infrastructure investments that result in cleaner waterways. The goals of the research are to better understand customer satisfaction to inform PWD improvements. Over the past five years, the research has revealed several key findings, including: 

  • The percentage of Philadelphians who report drinking bottled water most often at home significantly decreased between 2019 and 2020 (from 41% to 36%)
  • ZIP codes with a lower median household income tend to have higher percentages of bottled water drinkers than ZIP codes with higher median household income
  • Safety concerns overall are the primary reasons that Philadelphians choose to drink bottled water

These findings reinforce the continued need for the Drink Philly Tap campaign, whose mission is to provide education and knowledge to Philadelphia residents to help them choose tap water over bottled water. Drink Philly Tap was launched in 2019 by ImpactED, in partnership with the Philadelphia Water Department, the Water Center at Penn, and PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center. To date, Drink Philly Tap has recruited and trained 19 ambassadors and collected over 10,000 Take the Tap Pledges. Drink Philly Tap is funded by a grant from the William Penn Foundation and in-kind donations from the Philadelphia Water Department.

To learn more about this campaign or to take the pledge, visit the Drink Philly Tap website.

Joanne Dahme, General Manager, Public Affairs, Philadelphia Water Department

“To support its commitment to improve customer service, the Water Department began working with ImpactED two years ago to survey its customers in a number of areas including satisfaction with water quality, general customer service received by phone and in person, construction-related activities, and interaction with our assistance programs. The ImpactED team guided us through the development and implementations of both surveys and focus groups. Their expertise and enthusiasm for our work resulted in concrete actions that we will be acting upon in the near future.”

Joanne Dahme
General Manager, Public Affairs, Philadelphia Water Department