Survey: Private Sector Should Play Central Role in Water Delivery

flowing water


Last week, the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) and Truth from the Tap released the findings of a national public opinion survey showing Americans believe the private sector should play a central role in delivering water and rebuilding U.S. water infrastructure.Print

The survey results confirm that Americans recognize the serious challenges facing the nation’s water infrastructure. They understand the need for additional investments to improve their water and wastewater services and know these investments are required to ensure their drinking water is safe.

The survey, conducted by EMC Research, also found that by a large margin, Americans preferred public-private partnerships and other private water solutions over a government-only approach to water delivery and water infrastructure investment.

Additional findings include:

  • 74 percent of respondents indicated that they are concerned about the nation’s water infrastructure and believe it should be a high priority for the country;
  • After learning more about the private water industry, a majority of respondents (53 percent) preferred their own water be treated and delivered by a private water company with government oversight;
  • A very small minority (21 percent) supported the government takeover of private water utilities, indicating a clear lack of support for re-municipalization or condemnation efforts pushed by activists;
  • When asked about proposals to address water infrastructure challenges in the U.S., respondents supported solutions that involve private sector participation at nearly double the rate of government-only operations and funding.

“The survey reinforces what we are seeing in cities and towns across the country – Americans want private water to be part of the water infrastructure solution. They recognize that these companies offer experienced professionals with extensive knowledge to help communities address water challenges,” said Michael Deane, NAWC’s executive director. “Private water professionals have been providing quality service for centuries and are committed to ensuring safe and reliable water treatment and delivery for the communities they serve.”

RELATED: U.S. Private Sector Water Poised for Expansion

Private water companies play a leading role in filling the water infrastructure funding gap. The five largest private water companies alone invest $2 billion every year in water infrastructure. This investment is much needed given there are an estimated 240,000 water mains breaks every year and our nation’s water infrastructure was given a “D” grade by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

With seven billions of gallons of water lost each and every day, this survey is a vital first step that confirms the value of collaboration and cooperation between government-owned water systems and private water companies.

The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) is the voice of the private water industry and the organization exclusively representing this group of quality water service providers, innovation drivers, creative financiers and responsible partners. To learn more about NAWC, visit or follow the association on Twitter and Facebook.

The National Association of Water Companies launched Truth from the Tap to serve as a resource for decision makers and communities weighing their drinking water and wastewater options. To learn more, visit or follow the campaign on Twitter.

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