A telephone survey carried out in 1995 in the Québec metropolitan area reached 2009 residents of four municipalities. Tap water was consumed regularly by only 50.8 percent of the consumers and bottled water by 42.7 %. Consumer dissatisfaction regarding the quality of tap water was noted. Fourteen percent were dissatisfied with the odor, and 30.6 % with the taste or flavor. Health risks, regarding ingestion of tap water, were mainly not perceived or seen only as a minor issue to consumers.
Multiple regression analysis indicated that knowledge of the source of the water was not a major determinant for selecting alternatives to tap water (e.g., bottled water or use of home treatment devices). Such use of alternatives was in fact six times higher in consumers dissatisfied with the taste of the water (OR = 6.0, p = 0.001) and only 35 % higher if people were connected to a distribution network using the St. Lawrence River as the source of supply (OR = 1.35, p = 0.01). No explanation was given for the taste problem reported.