How do U.S. voters feel about water infrastructure?

The Value of Water Campaign has released the results of its sixth annual poll aimed at understanding voters’ views on water issues, including water infrastructure, support for investment and confidence and support for water systems.

According to the results, across all demographics, Americans strongly support water infrastructure investment and 78 percent of voters support (with 48 percent strongly supporting) a proposal to reinvest in the nation’s water infrastructure.

The study polled more than 1,000 U.S. voters and was conducted from March 15-21, 2021, by the bipartisan research team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz, and Associates (D) and New Bridge Strategy (R).

Source: VoWC fact sheet

Among a variety of issues polled, the highest single federal priority for voters was ensuring a reliable water supply — this despite the fact that the survey polled other mainstream issues facing the nation today. Additionally, addressing water contamination and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure were also top priorities, on par with other top issues polled like rebuilding the nation’s economy and ending the COVID-19 pandemic. These issues polled higher than ones like reforming the healthcare system or increasing the minimum wage.

Over the past six years, fewer Americans have rated the national water infrastructure as “good,” while the number of Americans who are uncertain about the state of water infrastructure has grown. The Value of Water Campaign says this shows a growing recognition that U.S. water infrastructure is in need of repair, replacement and rehabilitation.

U.S. infrastructure receives C- grade on ASCE’s 2021 report card

Key findings include:

  • The highest single federal priority for voters among a variety of issues polled was ensuring a reliable water supply, with 83 percent rating this issue as very or extremely important;
  • 78  percent support increasing federal investment to rebuild water infrastructure, including pipes, pumps, reservoirs, treatment plants, and other facilities to ensure safe, reliable water service;
  • 76 percent are confident in the safety of their community’s drinking water supply;
  • 80 percent trust that the pipes in their homes are safe;
  • 79 percent rate their local community water infrastructure as good;
  • 70 percent support ensuring drinking water and wastewater agencies receive federal COVID-19 relief parity with organizations that maintain transportation and other forms of infrastructure;
  • When informed that ratepayers would bear some costs, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) continued to support capital investments at the national, state, and local levels even with a $1.2 trillion price tag; and
  • Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) say what they pay for water and wastewater service is affordable, but rural and lower-income households were less likely to view these services as affordable.

More information about the results of the survey, as well as demographics on the voters who participated, is available via a fact sheet released by the Value of Water Campaign.


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