When it comes to voters’ opinions on water infrastructure in the United States, safe drinking water, removal of lead pipes, and cybersecurity concerns are all top of mind. That is, according to the seventh annual Value of Water Index.
“The good news for the water sector and water providers is people still largely have faith in their local systems,” Abigail Gardner, communications advisor for the US Water Alliance said in an interview about the report’s findings.
Though down from previous years, the poll conducted by the Value of Water Campaign showed about 75 percent of people say they trust their local water infrastructure to be in good condition. For the first year ever, the same number of respondents — 41 percent on both sides — report they think the nation’s water infrastructure is in good condition as those who think our water infrastructure is in bad condition. Another key finding this year was the number of respondents who reported that they had no knowledge of major legislation funding the sector. When asked, 50 percent of respondents said they were not aware of the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, or the projects it will fund.
“The best way for the water sector to continue to get more federal funding to do the critical work that needs to be done is to share the success stories, [and] make sure everybody knows ‘this is what you invest in when you invest in water,’” Gardner said.
Indeed, now is the time to toot your own horn if you haven’t already been doing it. Our cover story this month does just that, with a story that hits close to home, because it takes place in the city I call my home: San Diego. The region has been plagued by longstanding drought for a number of years and I’ve written about the challenges of living in the southwest several times in recent months. Designed to keep up with increased demand fueled by population growth, the Miramar Clearwell Improvements Project is the largest current capital improvement project for the city, at $120 million.
The City of San Diego Public Utilities Department partnered with Kleinfelder — an engineering, design, and construction management firm — for the work. By taking a proactive approach to addressing aging infrastructure, San Diego now has a treatment facility that provides clean water for the area today and has gained the flexibility to accommodate future growth. Read more on page 10.
In order to combat drinking water loss, enhanced data intelligence, often with battery-powered remote monitoring devices is key. On Page 14, author Sol Jacobs discusses how utilities can utilize two-way wireless communications to deliver enhanced data intelligence, and support applications including AMR/AMI, as well as water and wastewater storage and distribution.
On page 18, read about how a Florida groundwater treatment plant has been able to combat rising salinity levels with a unique pressure exchange application. The North Port Water Treatment Plant’s new brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) facility will allow the community to achieve savings in capital and operating expenses over time.
Other topics covered in this issue include: the use of geographic information systems to install a water distribution system in Ecuador; and a developer-fueled partnership to reuse non-potable water in Southeastern Los Angeles County to save precious drinking water for citizens — each examples of communities putting in the work in their communities to show the value of water: Toot-toot! I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. Thanks for reading! WW
Published in WaterWorld magazine, June 2022.