Annual poll examines voter opinions on water investment, affordability

The Value of Water Campaign recently released the results of its ninth annual national poll of more than 1,000 American voters to better understand their opinions on the nation’s water infrastructure. The poll was conducted by the bipartisan research team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz, and Associates (D) and New Bridge Strategy (R).

Conducted between March 11 and March 18, 2024, the Value of Water Campaign sought insights on Americans’ perceptions around the need for continued federal investment in our nation’s water infrastructure, where that investment should be focused and the outlook on water safety and affordability.

For the fourth year in a row, ensuring a reliable water supply was the top priority of voters — with 88 percent of respondents ranking it as extremely or very important. This was followed by reducing inflation and strengthening the economy, with 86 percent of respondents ranking each as extremely or very important.

Support for water comes as voter outlooks on the state of the nation’s water infrastructure continue to decline. Indeed, only 34 percent of respondents rated the current condition of the nation’s water infrastructure as good — a new low — whereas 46 percent of respondents rated the current condition as bad.

The poll found there is strong bipartisan support for more federal water funding to help improve the nation’s water infrastructure. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they would support continued federal investment in water after the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law sunsets. Twenty percent of voters would oppose continued federal investment in the same circumstances, and 16 percent were unsure.

A majority of voters support elected officials who advocate for investment in water. Sixty-three percent of respondents would view an elected official who supported additional investment in water infrastructure more favorably, with only 14 percent viewing such an official less favorably.

Source: Value of Water Campaign.

Water affordability is a rising concern among voters, yielding growing support for a permanent federal water bill assistance program. In the last six years, the percentage of voters who find their water service unaffordable has more than doubled, rising from 13 percent of voters in 2018 to 30 percent of voters in 2024. Accordingly, 59 percent of voters would support making the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), a federal government assistance program to help low-income customers pay their water bills and avoid shutoffs, a permanent program.

AWWA, water sector offer support of permanent low-income water assistance program

Despite affordability concerns, 61 percent of respondents would pay 50 dollars more per year on their water bills if it helped fund projects that prioritized the safety and health of their area’s drinking water and ensured that everyone in their community had basic water and sewer service.

Source: Value of Water Campaign

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