AWWA Releases New State of the Industry Report

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has released a new State of the Water Industry (SOTWI) report that summarizes the significant challenges facing the water industry and provides data to support and develop strategies to address the common issues.

The water industry in North America ? like many sectors ? is slowly emerging from the effects of the recent recession. However, the 2013 SOTWI report reveals that broad economic recovery has done little to allay the single greatest concern facing water professionals today: the cost of caring for our aging water systems. In fact, the top three issues identified by respondents were related to meeting the costs of system stewardship.?

Some of the major findings are summarized in the report?s executive summary. The findings are the results of a process started in late in 2012, when e-mail invitations were sent to a wide range of water industry professionals, with a focus on AWWA members, inviting them to participate in the SOTWI study. Of that group, 862 water professionals elected to participate in AWWA?s online survey. The SOTWI survey identifies participants by their type of work within the industry. The largest respondent group was utility employees, namely those from water-only utilities (27 percent) and combined water and wastewater utilities (27 percent). The next largest groups were employed by consulting firms (15 percent), government or regulatory agencies (10 percent) and manufacturers or their representatives (6 percent).

The survey identified 13 distinct challenges facing the water sector, the largest of which fall into two broad categories: the ongoing costs of system stewardship and environmental concerns related to water services. The one issue outside of the top five is retaining and replacing the aging water workforce.

The state of water and wastewater infrastructure was clearly the most important issue identified in the 2013 SOTWI survey. In fact, the top three issues identified by respondents were related to meeting the costs of system stewardship. Many water systems built decades ago are in need of significant renewal or replacement, but due to financial challenges such as inadequate revenues to cover costs, some municipal utilities have deferred necessary maintenance. As a consequence, fixed assets, especially water mains but also pump stations and treatment plants, have deteriorated and need to be restored or replaced.

Respondents to the SOTWI survey also reported that water system stewardship is more costly than the public realizes, especially in the face of diminishing federal, state and provincial funding. They stressed the importance of the water industry acting collectively to inform consumers, tax- and rate-payers, and decision makers of the value of water services.

A startling finding is that approximately 80 percent of utility participants representing water, wastewater and combined systems reported that their utility was not able to cover the full cost of providing water service.
AWWA members and registrants can view the executive summary or the report in full, at www.awwa.org/resources-tools/water-utility-management/state-of-the-water-industry.aspx.

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AWWA Releases New State of the Industry Report

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has released a new State of the Water Industry (SOTWI) report that summarizes the significant challenges facing the water industry and provides data to support and develop strategies to address our common issues.

The water industry in North America ? like many sectors ? is slowly emerging from the effects of the recent recession. However, the 2013 SOTWI report reveals that broad economic recovery has done little to allay the single greatest concern facing water professionals today: the cost of caring for our aging water systems. In fact, the top three issues identified by respondents were related to meeting the costs of system stewardship.?

Some of the major findings are summarized in the report?s executive summary. The findings are the results of a process started in late in 2012, when e-mail invitations were sent to a wide range of water industry professionals, with a focus on AWWA members, inviting them to participate in the SOTWI study. Of that group, 862 water professionals self-selected to participate in AWWA?s online survey. The SOTWI survey identifies participants by their type of work within the industry. The largest respondent group was utility employees, namely those from water-only utilities (27 percent) and combined water and wastewater utilities (27 percent). The next largest groups were employed by consulting firms (15 percent), government or regulatory agencies (10 percent) and manufacturers or their representatives (6 percent).

The survey identified 13 distinct challenges facing the water sector, the largest of which fall into two broad categories: the ongoing costs of system stewardship and environmental concerns related to water services. The one issue outside of the top five is retaining and replacing the aging water workforce.

The state of water and wastewater infrastructure was clearly the most important issue identified in the 2013 SOTWI survey. In fact, the top three issues identified by respondents were related to meeting the costs of system stewardship. Many water systems built decades ago are in need of significant renewal or replacement, but due to financial challenges such as inadequate revenues to cover costs, some municipal utilities have deferred necessary maintenance. As a consequence, fixed assets, especially water mains but also pump stations and treatment plants, have deteriorated and need to be restored or replaced.

Respondents to the 2013 SOTWI survey also reported that water system stewardship is more costly than the public realizes, especially in the face of diminishing federal, state, and provincial funding. They stressed the importance of the water industry acting collectively to inform consumers, tax- and rate-payers, and decision makers of the value of water services.

A startling finding is that approximately 80 percent of utility participants representing water, wastewater, and combined systems reported that their utility was not able to cover the full cost of providing water service.

AWWA members and registrants can view the executive summary or the report in full, at www.awwa.org/resources-tools/water-utility-management/state-of-the-water-industry.aspx.

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