Survey: 66% of Americans say water requires more federal funding

The American Business Water Coalition (ABWC), a national organization comprised of water-reliant businesses, has released a “U.S. Water Infrastructure Funding and Business Risks Survey,” examining voter opinions across a wide spectrum of water issues.

The survey focused on water issues such as water quality, federal infrastructure funding and perceived risk to U.S. businesses and local communities from potential water-related crises. A key finding of the ABWC survey showed that a large majority of voters – 79 percent of Americans – are more likely to vote for political candidates who support increasing funding for clean and reliable drinking water.  

The survey was conducted independently by the American Business Water Coalition through SurveyMonkey® from Tuesday, August 29 through Friday, September 1, 2023. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 585 adults, age 18 or older. The study was conducted in English. Respondent data were collected for gender, political engagement, voting habits, partisan affiliation, Census region, and individual and household income.

ABWC says the survey results comes as many state officials, business, community leaders and experts from the water sector are expressing concern regarding proposed deep cuts to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) and the adverse impact of Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS).

“It was important to conduct the U.S. Water Infrastructure Funding and Business Risks Survey and check in with U.S. voters after proposed spending legislation in Congress included historic, unprecedented cuts to federal funding for our nation’s water and wastewater systems,” said ABWC CEO Mae Stevens. “Americans understand the connection between cuts to water infrastructure funding and the health of their local economy. Our survey shows that voters want more, not less, water funding.”

When asked about the risk to local businesses, the ABWC survey shows nearly all U.S. voters in agreement that drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure are integrally linked to the business community and overall economic prosperity. More than 98 percent of respondents said it was important, very important, or extremely important for businesses to have access to clean water for routine services, operations and hygiene. This indicates uniform growing concern among voters that funding challenges for water utilities put businesses in America at risk, since economic growth depends on safe and reliable water. 

“Our survey shows a high level of sophistication among U.S. voters about water infrastructure,” added Stevens. “The average person understands the connection between the quality of water coming out of their tap and the growing risk associated with aging water infrastructure. High profile cases, like Flint, MI, and Jackson, MS, have shown Americans how this could happen in their own backyard, explaining why two out of three voters want increased federal funding to correct this problem.”

In response to a multiple-choice question about where future funding for water infrastructure should come from, the largest number of ABWC Survey respondents believed the federal government should cover the costs. Nearly 45 percent of voters selected federal funding as their preferred method to help close the water infrastructure gap, instead of alternative methods of funding for water such as higher water bills and higher taxes.

The U.S. Water Infrastructure Funding and Business Risks Survey document, along with detailed findings and an executive summary, are available at businesswatercoalition.com.

About American Business Water Coalition

The American Business Water Coalition is a group of water-reliant businesses—from manufacturing to energy to tech and beyond. The coalition provides a platform for businesses across the country to urge Congress and the Administration to increase investment in water infrastructure, and foster relationships between businesses and their local utilities. Learn more about the coalition here: https://www.businesswatercoalition.com/

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