Consumers blame utilities for water scarcity

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Many water utility executives are concerned that demand for water will soon outstrip supply and say that wasteful consumer behavior is the biggest threat to the supply.

On the contrary, new research from GE reveals that Americans blame large industries (74 percent), agriculture (69 percent), and utilities and power companies (67 percent) for contributing an "extreme amount" or "quite a bit" to water scarcity.

More than eight in 10 (86 percent) understand that energy is needed to deliver water and more than seven in 10 (74 percent) are aware that water is needed to create energy -- showing that Americans do understand the energy-water nexus. Around 84 percent believe smart water management can help the U.S. more efficiently create and use energy and want energy industry leaders to demonstrate water stewardship by using recycled water to produce electricity, positively impacting cost and efficiency.

Population growth, rapid industrialization and accelerated urbanization are driving the need for water reuse. As 36 states face water shortages in the coming year and 5.3 billion people globally are vulnerable to water shortages, the research reveals that Americans strongly support reusing water to help the U.S. drive economic competitiveness, protect the environment and reverse the growing trend of water scarcity. Americans also think that industry and government should play a stronger role in making water reuse a national priority and some will pay to ensure the future of water. On average, 12 percent are willing to pay more to ensure that future generations will be less vulnerable to water shortages.

"The survey, which we developed to get a better understanding of the awareness and barriers to adoption of water reuse, revealed stronger support for water recycling than we expected," said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO of water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.  "It shows that the vast majority of Americans understand the value of water reuse. We are encouraged by the survey results."

For more:
- see the results

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