Good news for water managers across the country – the Value of Water Coalition says a January 2016 national poll found that Americans are deeply concerned with the state of water infrastructure and are willing to support efforts to invest and modernize these systems to ensure and maintain reliable water and wastewater services.
“It’s clear that a dialogue is needed on appropriate policy steps to guarantee a sustainable and strong local‐state‐federal partnership to address America’s enormous water infrastructure challenges,” says Eileen O’Neill, Water Environment Federation (WEF) Executive Director. “Everyone uses water so its management is really a shared responsibility. We are greatly encouraged by the poll results, which shows an increased public recognition of how essential it is to have clean water and safe, reliable infrastructure and the importance of everyone doing their part.”
Respondents were initially evenly split (47/47) on their willingness to personally spend more on their water bills for increased investment in water systems. Once poll respondents received additional information about water issues, there was a 13 percent increase to 60 percent of Americans in favor of paying more to invest in water infrastructure. The Flint, Michigan water contamination crisis was also a consideration as 95 percent of respondents said it was important or very important for public officials to invest in water systems so other communities wouldn’t face a similar situation.
“This is a critical time and important opportunity to have a conversation across the country about the importance of investing in our water systems. Being able to drink water straight from the tap and knowing that wastewater is safely and responsibly treated are top concerns for Americans. As a nation, we must prioritize investment in our water systems—to maintain high-quality water service today and for future generations,” said Radhika Fox, director of the Value of Water Coalition and CEO of the US Water Alliance.
The Value of Water Coalition is made up of representatives from WEF, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Water Works Association (AWWA), and Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies along with 27 other public and private water agencies, business and community leaders, and organizations. To learn more about the Value of Water Coalition, click here.