Willing to pay more for water?


The Value of Water study by Xylem

Are you willing to pay more for water? How much more?

As reported yesterday in Forbes, a report released last week found that 75 percent of Americans were willing to pay more for water infrastructure that conserves energy and 70 percent were willing to pay more for water to ensure that all Americans have access to clean water. From the article:

For a long time the sad state of the country’s pipes was as hidden as the pipes themselves. Today, however, it seems more Americans realize that our water system needs fixing.

“There’s been a premise held by a lot of folks that the American public doesn’t value water, that they won’t pay for it, and that they don’t understand the issues with water infrastructure,” says Xylem CEO Gretchen McClain. “The first time we did this study it validated the fact that there was a definite lack of information and understanding about the age of the U.S. water system. This time we asked not only about whether people understood the issues in the system, but also whether they would be willing to do something about them. People do understand how valuable water is to their health and safety, and they largely said they do have some responsibility to help fix the system and that they would be willing to pay more for water, but they expect the government to give more time and investment to the issue as well.

Hearing that may come as a relief, as ‘business factors’ and ‘infrastructure’ are cited as the two top issues among those water professionals surveyed by the American Water Works Association for the 2012 State of the Industry Report. Infrastructure in Colorado is certainly aging.

In 2011, the Colorado Municipal League estimated that it would cost $4.5 bill to outfit 492 drinking water and 535 wastewater facilities owned by municipalities in Colorado with necessary upgrades, while Denver water alone plans to spend $1.6 billion over the next 10 years to increase supply and replace aging infrastructure.

As Colorado’s population grows and infrastructure ages, we’re likely to see a continued rise in water rates. Look forward to more on rates, infrastructure and the work of utilities in the January 2012 issue of Headwaters Magazine.


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