Despite a steady decline in funding, the water industry remains positive-thinking and poised for growth. This positivity, however, is a muted shade of the assurance noted a year ago.
W&WD’s annual State of the Industry Survey covers market dynamics, including professional and business demographics, budget and purchasing involvement and expenditures, and importance of industry issues.
The 2014 State of the Industry report showed a modest upswing in the works; however, that optimism was quieter in the 2015 State of the Industry. Seventy-six percent of respondents called 2015 good to excellent, while 80% stated last year that 2014 was good to excellent. It appears as though 2015 fell short of last year’s expectations, too, as 86% of last year’s respondents expected 2015 to be good to excellent.
While 2014 saw 44.1% of respondents’ revenues increase, 2015 yielded only 31.6% of respondents with the same good fortune. The portion of respondents who claimed a revenue decrease remained the same between 2014 and 2015—18.9%. There is markedly less confidence in next year panning out to be a good year than was noted in last year’s survey: In 2014, only 6.9% of survey respondents predicted a revenue decrease for 2015; but in this year’s survey, 12.6% of respondents think their revenue will decrease next year.
Like the presidential candidates, the water industry may feel as if it is competing for its chance to serve the American people. Therefore, a little campaigning on the part of those who advocate for the industry may be in order. In November, the House approved a bill to spend up to $325 billion on transportation projects. If there is money for roads, there is money for water, and perhaps the water industry should do as presidential candidates sometimes do in order to make a splash: Scream, shout and make some noise in the name of water infrastructure.
Clean, safe water is vital to our lives. The industry must ensure its voice is heard.