Overwhelming, Bipartisan Majority of Pennsylvanians Would Pay More to Ensure Higher Water Quality and Reliability

May 7, 2024

PHILADELPHIA – A survey released today by the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) of likely Pennsylvania voters found that nearly four out of five Pennsylvanians (79%), on both sides of the aisle, would support a $5 per month increase in their water bill to help modernize the state’s aging water infrastructure and improve water reliability, enhance water quality, and prevent water waste from entering our waterways. This finding comes as Americans are concerned about ongoing inflation. 

Of those Pennsylvanians who would pay an additional $5 per month, nearly two-thirds (61%) would pay up to $20 more per month to improve reliability and prevent water waste from outdated, leaking pipes. And more than half (55%) would pay up to $20 more per month if it meant increased compliance in removing harmful chemicals and lead from drinking water and preventing raw sewage from spilling into Pennsylvania’s treasured waterways. 

“Investing in the reliability and safety of our water and wastewater systems means replacing aging pipes, preventing this valuable resource from being lost or preventing raw sewage from entering our waterways. Regulated, private water companies are helping to solve these problems by investing more than $800 million annually across Pennsylvania to modernize their infrastructure, including replacing leaky pipes, removing lead lines, and upgrading water treatment plants. These investments will help modernize the state’s critical water and wastewater infrastructure and provide safe and reliable service,” said NAWC President and CEO Robert F. Powelson. 

He added, “These survey results illustrate that Pennsylvanians are concerned about the state’s aging water infrastructure and are willing to pay more to get a better product. From higher quality water and regularly upgrading infrastructure to protecting our environment and providing highly responsive customer service, private, regulated water companies deliver the highest quality water and experience available.”

Pollster James Lee from Susquehanna Polling and Research noted the survey showed overwhelming support from Pennsylvanians on both sides of the political aisle, saying, “At a time when many Pennsylvanians are struggling to pay for inflationary increases in common household products and services, including higher fuel costs, these results are compelling and show that safe drinking water is a primary concern for most Pennsylvanians.”

In addition, the survey found nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians (59%) want to continue to allow private investment in local water systems by private, state regulated companies, as long as customers continue to get reliable and safe drinking water.

Lastly, the survey also found over half of Pennsylvanians (53%) believe that local municipalities should be empowered to make decisions for their communities and retain the flexibility to negotiate the sale of water systems with regulated, private companies, as long as it remains regulated by the state and is in customers’ best interests. This includes 57% of Republicans, and 51% of both Democrats and Independent voters.

The survey was conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research between February 27 and March 6, 2024, with 710 Pennsylvania registered voters. The margin of error is +/-3.7% at the 95% confidence level.