Survey: Half of Americans don't believe water scarcity is an issue; water utilities disagree

Reveals divide between concerns held by water utilities and a lack of urgency among consumers.

Apr 21st, 2017
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DOWNERS GROVE, IL,APRIL 21, 2017 -- A newly released Grundfos consumer research survey reveals a divide between concerns held by water utilities over key water-related issues, and a lack of urgency among consumers. The global pump manufacturer polled consumers across the country last month to learn how they value water.

Nearlyhalf (49 percent) of respondents believe they'll never be affected by a water shortage.In contrast, 40 out of 50 water utility managers say they expect a water shortage within the next 10 years, according to a recentstudyby the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The aging infrastructure of America's water and wastewater systems is another looming issue. On the latest"infrastructure report card,"released by the American Society of Civil Engineers, drinking water systems rated a D, and wastewater systems scored a D+. The cost to repair the system, and end America's240,000 yearly water main breaks, would be more than$1 trillion dollars.

Despite consuming the most while paying the least water cost per capita in the world,only two percent of consumers felt they should pay more when asked to evaluate their water bill, according to the study. Additionally,almost half are concerned about rate increases.

All indications, however, point to the need for increased funding. More than 70 percent of water utilitiessurveyedin 2016 said they are not generating enough revenue to cover costs while also funding infrastructure improvements.

Moreover, while issues in the news like the water quality crisis inFlint, Michiganhave raised consumer awareness,more than one-third of those surveyed still said they didn't know enough about the condition of their local water supply.

In order to bridge this knowledge gap, the global pump manufacturer Grundfos introducedWho Runs the Water That Runs America, a public awareness initiative that illustrates the challenges faced by water utilities, and spotlights utility workers who keep the water running.

"Grundfos is a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency in pumping systems, so we feel well-positioned to focus public consciousness around these issues," says Grundfos EVP Robert Montenegro. He adds, "Knowledgeable consumers make powerful advocates – exactly what the ailing water infrastructure needs right now."

In addition to the national survey findings, state-specific consumer viewpoints are available forArizona,California,Florida,Georgia,Illinois,Indiana,Massachusetts,Michigan,New Jersey,New York,North Carolina,Ohio,Pennsylvania,Texas,Virginiaand Washington. Click here to access the reporthttp://us.grundfos.com/whorunsthewater/download-report.html

Survey results are based on an online survey conductedMarch 6-13, 2017, by Kunde & Co that sampled 2,000 individuals 18 and older living in the continentalUnited States.

Summary of Key Consumer Findings:

On Water Utilities:
60%rate water utility service as "good" or "very good"
54%are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their water service
69%trust their water utility to provide clean, safe water

On Water Quality:
63%"agree" or "strongly agree" that access to clean water is an issue in the U.S.

On Water Shortage:
49%believe they'll never be affected by water shortage
42%believe they may be affected by water shortage in 1-11 years
9%are already affected

On Water Bills:
2%believe they should pay more when evaluating their water bill compared to water use
49%are concerned about rate increases

On Themselves:
38%rate themselves as "knowledgeable" or "highly knowledgeable" on the condition of their local water supply
35%rate themselves as "not knowledgeable enough" or "not at all knowledgeable"
27%neutral

The full survey report, as well as 16-state-specific survey findings may be downloaded here.

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