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AWWA’s State of the Water Industry report released

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Autor: Patricia Santos

AWWA’s State of the Water Industry report released

July 7, 2022 | Continued impacts from the ongoing global pandemic, concerns about drought and water contaminants, and workforce shortages were the key issues identified in the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) annual State of the Water Industry report, which is now available. The report, published yearly since 2004, is based on survey results and aims to help water utilities, service providers, regulators and researchers identify and prepare for challenges, opportunities and trends impacting the water community.

Survey responses indicated the water sector faced challenges over supply chain and staffing shortages stemming from the ongoing global pandemic, water supply due to drought and a changing climate, and contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lead. Despite these challenges, the 2022 report shows water professionals’ optimism about the health of the sector is still above the 19-year average of 4.65, based on a scale of 1 (not sound) to 7 (very sound). This is slightly lower than 2021 (5.24), marking the first year-over-year dip since 2017.

“My view is that water professionals’ accomplishments were miraculous this past year, especially given the extraordinary challenges they faced. 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,” AWWA CEO David LaFrance said.

Report details

The 2022 report provides insight into issues such as infrastructure investment, workforce pipeline and compliance challenges.

This year’s survey showed:

  • Optimism prevails in a resilient water sector
  • Infrastructure and financing are the top challenges
  • Historic federal investment in water infrastructure presents opportunities
  • Managing water supplies is a complex job
  • Utilities expect challenges covering costs through customer rates and fees
  • A need to expand water’s workforce pipeline
  • PFAS and lead and copper are the top compliance challenges

This year’s report captured feedback from 3,778 North American utility and non-utility water professionals who were surveyed between October and December 2021.

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