First I want to talk about the place I work at. The US Water Alliance is national membership organization of utilities, water-reliant businesses, and nonprofits dedicated to the One Water concept – a wholistic, systems-thinking approach to sustainable and equitable water management. Its about unifying the water industry. Our work is focused on 3 areas: Educating the nation on the true value of water and the need for investment in its infrastructure Accelerating the adoption of one water management strategies through a program of national dialogues, papers, and policy development; Celebrating what works and drives innovation in the water sector by highlighting one water champions.
As a water infrastructure advocate for years on your behalf I saw a problem, and I bet many of you have seen it too - time and again the water sector is its own worst enemy. Barriers fly up between drinking water and wastewater. Big systems and small systems. Urban vs. rural. That’s where One Water comes in. It’s an approach that sees the interlocking nature of all the needs and processes of the water sector – from utilities and cities to business and farms with equity and sustainability.
Published last spring, our report on the economic benefits of investing in water infrastructure finds that if we close the investment gap for water infrastructure, there is a ripple effect of sustained job creation, GDP growth, and more.
So we took the One Water approach to water infrastructure. We are proud to join other leaders in the water industry to support and coordinate the Value of Water Campaign. In total we have 34 Campaign participants and as you can see here we have some of the biggest water utilities, some of the biggest water reliant businesses, engineers, and importantly the big water trade association groups. This is the first effort of its kind to unify all these groups under one umbrella. One message. Together.
The Value of Water Campaign educates and inspires the nation about how water is essential, invaluable, and in need of investment. Together, we work to build public and political will for investment in America’s water infrastructure through education and advocacy campaigns, high-impact events, and robust, best-in-class communications tools.
Our campaign focuses on three core messages: Water is essential to everything we do—from the water we need to brush our teeth and make coffee in the morning, to the water farmers need to grow crops, and firefighters need to keep us safe. But our water and wastewater systems are at risk. Water infrastructure is invisible, aging beneath our feet, and in need of massive investments. We must invest to ensure the quality of life we enjoy today will be available to us in the future. We have the solutions to solve our biggest water challenges. It is going to require us to all come together and support investment and innovation. And when we do, we can create jobs and economic growth.
The Value of Water Campaign commissioned the third annual Value of Water Index to measure how Americans prioritize infrastructure among other federal issues, as well as to obtain public opinion data on the state and importance of water infrastructure specifically.
I want to share five key highlights with you here
The bi-partisan polling team of Public Opinion Strategies and FM3 conducted the poll on behalf of the Value of Water Campaign between March 11 and March 15, 2018. Respondents were 1,000 registered voters. The margin of error is +/-3.1% at the 95% confidence level.
First, Americans support infrastructure investment more than any other national issue. Four of five American voters want Congress and the Trump Administration to focus on rebuilding America’s infrastructure. Eighty percent said rebuilding America’s infrastructure should be an extremely or very important priority for Congress and the Administration—compared to some of the other big ticket issues that have been part of the national conversation over the last few years like defense spending, building the Wall, Obamacare, and Dreamers.
Second, Rebuilding America’s water and wastewater infrastructure is extremely or very important. Seventy-eight percent of American voters believe it is extremely or very important for the President and congress to develop a plan to rebuild the water infrastructure that brings clean drinking water to homes and that removes and treats wastewater.
And nearly every American says it’s a least somewhat important.
Third, Americans support solutions too – 88 percent support increased federal investment to rebuild our water infrastructure - including pipes, pumps, reservoirs, treatment plants, and other facilities – to ensure safe, reliable water service for all communities. AND over half of all American voters (55 percent) said they strongly supported such federal investment.
Fourth, Voters overwhelmingly support a proactive program of water infrastructure upgrades rather than waiting to fix problems with these critical systems as they arise. They maintain this support even when prompted with the costs – which exceed $1 trillion.
Fifth, No other issue has nearly as much broad and bipartisan support. These opinions were widely shared across all demographic, geographic, and political subgroups. Across the political spectrum, majorities believe that rebuilding our water infrastructure is extremely or very important—including 66 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Independents, and 88 percent of Democrats. This is a critical message point, write this down – there is no political downside to supporting water infrastructure investment
So that’s the Value of Water Campaign in a nutshell. For what its worth, I think the construction industry is underrepresented in the Campaign and that AGC would fit in well with its solid reputation as a tireless infrastructure advocate. With that, I’ll take any questions.
Thank you again for having me back and I look forward to catching up with all of you!
Water Infrastructure WS - Scott Berry
Water Infrastructure Working Session
Scott Berry, US Water Alliance
December 12th, 3:00pm – 4:30pm EST
About the US Water Alliance
One Water: Sustainable
Value of Water Campaign Supporters
Goal #1: Increase understanding and appreciation about
the value of water with public officials, business and civic
leaders, media, and customers.
Goal #2: Drive support for sustainable water resource
strategies and investment in water infrastructure.
Goal #3: Foster collective action among diverse
organizations who view water as fundamental to
America’s economic strength, environmental
sustainability, and community well-being.
2018 Public Opinion Poll Results
Third Annual Value of Water Index
No other issue
has nearly as
One Water One Future
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