Consumers concerned about water supply, infrastructure issues, survey shows

According to a new survey released today by MWH Global, consumers have grown more concerned about water supply and water infrastructure issues in their local communities.

BROOMFIELD, CO, June 17, 2015 -- According to a new survey released today by MWH Global -- an engineering, consulting and construction firm focused on water and natural resources -- consumers have grown more concerned about water supply and water infrastructure issues in their local communities.

Among the key findings, 70 percent of Americans believe that their communities will experience water shortages more often in the next 10 years. Likewise, two-thirds claim that their community should be spending more money to ensure water infrastructure is well-maintained and properly functioning.

The need for improved water supply and water infrastructure has recently been the focus of news as water scarcity issues have gripped portions of the western U.S. and flooding has significantly impacted Texas and parts of the Southeast. As such, effective water management is a growing concern of cities and municipalities across the country to better control economic, environmental and safety impacts.

"It's clear that residents across the U.S. are seeing a growing demand for water and heightened concern over the state of their community's water infrastructure," said Alan Krause, chairman and chief executive officer of MWH Global. "Development of cost-effective, advanced approaches to water infrastructure represents a key opportunity in many parts of the country."

The online survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of MWH found that consumers were most concerned about: Access to clean, low-cost water; the impact of infrastructure; and supporting infrastructure improvement costs.

Access to Clean, Low-Cost Water

Nearly half of respondents, or 47 percent, are concerned about U.S. communities not having easy, low-cost clean water access, and 70 percent believe that U.S. communities will experience water shortages more often in the coming 10 years. Additionally, the survey found that 97 percent of Americans believe that their day-to-day life will be negatively impacted if forced to cut back on water usage.

Recent studies from the Columbia University Water Center point to a rise in drought patterns in many regions of the U.S., putting many metro areas and key centers of agriculture and industry at increasing risk.

"Water scarcity continues to impact cities and industries throughout the country," said Krause. "As concerns over access to water increase, it's important that we continue to develop and implement new, innovative programs to effectively capture, distribute and treat water."

Impact of Infrastructure

The survey also pointed to concerns about the condition and longevity of water infrastructure in many parts of the country. One in three Americans, or 33 percent, think their community's current water infrastructure will only last less than five more years -- and 23 percent think it will last less than a year. Nearly a quarter of respondents said that they would consider moving to a new area if their current municipality experienced sustained problems with water and water infrastructure.

"We continue to see a strong need for infrastructure upgrades in cities across the U.S.," said Krause. "Extreme weather including hurricanes, flooding and drought continue to strain our country's water infrastructure in ways that are often preventable through intelligent and timely infrastructure upgrades."

Supporting Infrastructure Improvement Costs

According to a recent study on America's infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, stronger investments in water infrastructure upgrades to increase reliability have the potential to prevent $147 billion in increased costs to businesses by 2020.

In many parts of the country, issues of water scarcity and flooding continue to raise the question of how best to prepare for future water challenges. According to the survey, two-thirds of Americans believe their community should be spending more money to ensure that its water infrastructure is well-maintained and properly functioning, and many are even willing to pay higher rates to ensure that infrastructure upgrades can be made.

Accordingly, nearly two-thirds, or 61 percent, of Americans support higher utility rates for the development and enhancement of water infrastructure in their communities -- and 75 percent of those currently facing a water shortage would be willing to invest in improved infrastructure.

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