Poll shows widespread voter support for bipartisan investment in water

Earlier this month the Value of Water Campaign released the results from its fourth annual national poll to gauge U.S. voter opinions on water infrastructure. The poll found continual, significant bipartisan support for water infrastructure investments: 85 percent of American voters support increasing federal water infrastructure investment.

The need for capital water infrastructure improvements in the United States continues to rise, but federal investment is not keeping pace putting both local communities and the greater economy at risk. The poll found most voters are willing to pay more for improved water service, but overwhelmingly want the federal government to step up and address the issue.

“Water is essential to everything we do, and our drinking and wastewater systems are incredible achievements. But after operating 24/7/365 for decades or even a century, these systems are in need of repair,” said Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance, which manages the Value of Water Campaign. “Federal appropriations for key water infrastructure loan programs have decreased in recent years, and overall federal support for water infrastructure is a fraction of what it was in the past. Policymakers need to listen to Americans, who overwhelmingly want their government to focus on issues like investing in infrastructure.”

Key findings from the poll include:

  • Americans support rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure more than any other issue facing the current administration, including building a border wall, repealing or replacing Obamacare, providing permanent status for Dreamers, or increasing military defense spending. Over three-fourths of voters (79 percent) say rebuilding America’s infrastructure is extremely or very important.
  • More than two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) support investment in water infrastructure at the national, state, and local levels — even when told that investment carries a $1.2 trillion price tag. Also, two-thirds of voters support a proactive program of water infrastructure upgrades, rather than fixing problems as they arise (67 percent).
  • Four in five (80 percent) American voters say what they pay for water service is affordable, and more than three in five voters would be willing to pay a modest increase in local water rates to fund improved service.
  • No other issue has nearly as much broad and bipartisan support. Support for investing in water infrastructure cuts across age, gender, party, geography, and ideology. More than three in four Democrats and Republicans agree rebuilding America’s infrastructure should be a top priority for the President and Congress this year.
  • Water quality concerns emphasizes need for investment and innovation. Seventy-four percent of Americans — living in both urban and rural areas — are concerned about contaminants affecting their water quality. More than five in eight Americans support local water agencies increasing the use of potable recycled water in their community.

The Value of Water Campaign poll measured responses from 1,000 registered voters and was conducted by the bipartisan research team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates and New Bridge Strategy.

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