MRO Magazine

New Survey Signals Consumer Concerns about U.S. Water Supply, Infrastructure

June 17, 2015
By Business Wire News


Amid a varied set of water-related concerns across the country, a new survey released today by MWH Global found that consumers are concerned about water supply and water infrastructure issues in their communities. Among the key findings, 70 percent of Americans think their communities will experience water shortages more often in the next 10 years. Two-thirds say that their community should be spending more money to ensure water infrastructure is well-maintained and properly functioning.

The need for improved water supply and water infrastructure has recently been the focus of news as water scarcity issues have gripped portions of the western U.S. and flooding has significantly impacted Texas and parts of the Southeast. Effective water management is a growing concern of cities and municipalities across the country to better control economic, environmental and safety impacts.

“It’s clear that residents across the U.S. are seeing a growing demand for water and heightened concern over the state of their community’s water infrastructure,” said Alan Krause, chairman and chief executive officer of MWH Global. “Development of cost-effective, advanced approaches to water infrastructure represents a key opportunity in many parts of the country. Now is the time for municipalities and utilities to evaluate the state of their infrastructure and consider taking steps to meet the needs of future generations.”

The online survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of MWH, a global engineering, consulting and construction firm focused on water and natural resources, found consumers were most concerned about:

Access to Clean, Low-Cost Water

Nearly half of respondents, or 47 percent, are concerned about U.S. communities not having easy, low-cost clean water access, and 70 percent believe that U.S. communities will experience water shortages more often in the coming 10 years. Additionally, the survey found that 97 percent of Americans believe that their day-to-day life will be negatively impacted if forced to cut back on water usage.

Recent studies from the Columbia University Water Center point to a rise in drought patterns in many regions of the U.S., putting many metro areas and key centers of agriculture and industry at increasing risk.

“Water scarcity continues to impact cities and industries throughout the country,” said Krause. “As concerns over access to water increase, it’s important that we continue to develop and implement new, innovative programs to effectively capture, distribute and treat water.”

Impact of Infrastructure

The survey also pointed to concerns about the condition and longevity of water infrastructure in many parts of the country. One in three Americans, or 33 percent, think their community’s current water infrastructure will only last less than five more years – and 23 percent think it will last less than a year. Nearly a quarter of respondents said that they would consider moving to a new area if their current municipality experienced sustained problems with water and water infrastructure.

“We continue to see a strong need for infrastructure upgrades in cities across the U.S.,” said Krause. “Extreme weather including hurricanes, flooding and drought continue to strain our country’s water infrastructure in ways that are often preventable through intelligent and timely infrastructure upgrades.”

Supporting Infrastructure Improvement Costs

According to a recent study on America’s infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, stronger investments in water infrastructure upgrades to increase reliability have the potential to prevent $147 billion in increased costs to businesses by 2020.

In many parts of the country, issues of water scarcity and flooding continue to raise the question of how best to prepare for future water challenges. According to the survey, two-thirds of Americans believe their community should be spending more money to ensure that its water infrastructure is well-maintained and properly functioning, and many are even willing to pay higher rates to ensure that infrastructure upgrades can be made. Nearly two-thirds, or 61 percent, of Americans – support higher utility rates for the development and enhancement of water infrastructure in their communities – and 75 percent of those currently facing a water shortage would be willing to invest in improved infrastructure.

You can read the full results of the MWH survey by visiting:

Methodological Notes:

The MWH Global water survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+, between May 28 and June 3, 2015, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adults ages 18+. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About MWH Global

MWH Global is the premier solutions provider focused on water and natural resources for built infrastructure and the environment. Offering a full range of innovative, award-winning services from initial planning through construction and asset management, we partner with our clients in multiple industries. Our approximately 7,000 employees in 35 countries spanning six continents are dedicated to fulfilling our purpose of Building a Better World, which reflects our commitment to sustainable development. MWH is a private, employee-owned firm with a rich legacy beginning in 1820. For more information, visit our website at or connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.

For MWH Global
Geoff Renstrom, 303-951-2564