A couple of weeks ago on this blog, we linked to a Water & Wastes Digest article about water treatment that covered ITT Corp’s Value of Water Survey. It polled registered voters, industrial businesses, and agricultural businesses to determine how Americans value water and to gauge public awareness of our aging water infrastructure. The survey produced some very interesting findings:
- 95 percent of voters rated water as more important than any other service they receive, including heat and electricity.
- 80 percent of voters agreed that water infrastructure needs reform, with 40 percent in agreement that “major reform” is needed.
- 85 percent of voters and 83 percent of businesses agreed that government should invest in water pipe and system upgrades.
- 79 of all voters and 75 percent of businesses agreed that government should make water issues a higher priority.
Water & Wastes Digest followed up with its own survey asking readers to share opinions on whether the price of water in their geographic areas should increase, with equally interesting results. Although the reasons justifying price increases varied, the overall consensus was that price should match the cost of effective treatment and safe drinking water delivery. Respondents also voiced the following opinions:
- Water pricing has been kept artificially low in the past.
- Increased pricing is a good value compared to the possibility of responding to water emergencies in the future.
- Available water supplies are already over committed, and cost increases are inevitable.
As we explore pricing options, it’s also vital that we explore new technology options. The systems that have long been used by municipal water treatment facilities are not necessarily the best systems to move forward with, as we face the threat of worldwide water shortages. The very idea of centralized water treatment is no longer the single best answer to every water use situation. Let’s keep our minds open to new ways of thinking–especially along the lines of reclaimed water / water reuse options–as we plan for the future of our nation and the future of water on Earth.