| AWWA survey: Optimism prevails in resilient water sector
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AWWA survey: Optimism prevails in resilient water sector

Now Available State of the Water Industry '22Challenges and opportunities impacting the water community over the past year are reflected in the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) latest State of the Water Industry (SOTWI) report, available now.

The full report, as well as a corresponding executive summary, summarizes results from an AWWA survey conducted between October and December 2021, during a period when the ongoing global pandemic was contributing to supply chain delays and staffing shortages. During the same period, additional concerns about extreme drought and contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl were increasing uncertainty about long-term water supplies and regulatory action.

On the brighter side was the November 2021 passage of the U.S. Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, which delivered the single largest federal investment in water history and raised prospects for much-needed investments to renew and replace aging infrastructure.
Optimism about Health of Water Sector graphThe annual SOTWI survey, which AWWA has conducted since 2004, asked 3,778 utility and non-utility participants from the United States and Canada to rate the current health of the water industry on a 1-7 scale, with 1 “not at all sound” and 7 “very sound.” The responses averaged 4.97 – lower than the previous year’s response of 5.24, but still above the survey’s 19-year average of 4.65. (Pictured right, graph showing optimism ratings since 2004.)

David LaFrance, AWWA CEO, said he saw the survey response regarding the health of the water sector as a temporary dip in the water community’s overall optimism for the future.

“My view is that water professionals’ accomplishments were miraculous this past year, especially given the extraordinary challenges they faced,” he said. “I have great confidence in the water community, and I think this is just a one-year dip in the optimism curve. I only see a positive water future.”

The annual SOTWI survey tracks water professionals’ perceptions of their ability to safeguard public health, support and strengthen communities, and protect the environment. The report is developed to help water utilities, service providers, regulators and researchers identify and prepare for challenges, opportunities and trends impacting the water community.

Both the full report and the executive summary are available at no cost to members on AWWA’s State of the Water Industry resource page.