What a year it has been for water. From the Flint, Mich., water crisis spewing headlines in the first quarter, to ensuing reports of lead-ridden drinking water across the country, water safety—or lack thereof—found an unprecedented spotlight in 2016, and the dire state of our nation’s water infrastructure became painfully apparent.
In this issue, we examine the state of the water and wastewater industry in our annual report covering market dynamics, including professional and business demographics, budget and purchasing involvement and expenditures, and importance of industry issues. We found that, on the whole, the industry is positive-thinking going into 2017.
The Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (WWEMA) and Boenning & Scattergood Inc. also recently released some positive news to share in their 2016 3Q WWEMA/Boenning Leading Demand Index, formulated to provide insight into near-term market and funding conditions related to municipal water and wastewater projects.
The index increased slightly in the third quarter, reversing the recent downward trend and suggesting an improving outlook for water and wastewater infrastructure products in 2017. According to the report’s author, Boenning & Scattergood Managing Director Ryan Connors, this shows that the outlook for the sector appears to be improving. The index indicates that “water and wastewater utilities are continuing to expand their payrolls, water and wastewater equipment demand improved notably in recent months, water stocks rebounded sharply in the third quarter, ductile iron pipe prices reversed their second quarter slide, and the housing market remains a wild card that could complicate the recovery.”
Another factor undoubtedly affecting our industry’s year ahead will be the transition of presidential administrations. In a letter to president-elect Donald Trump, the American Water Works Assn. (AWWA) urged the new administration to make water infrastructure investment a key priority in the coming years.
“AWWA looks forward to working with the new administration on issues fundamental to providing safe drinking water to the American people, most notably water infrastructure financing and cybersecurity, two issues raised by [Trump] in the campaign,” said Tracy Mehan, AWWA executive director of government affairs, in a release. “In addition, affordability and protection of our source waters are tremendous opportunities for progress over the next four years.”
W&WD will be sure to follow the transition of administrations, as it relates to water infrastructure, as well as keep tabs on regulatory and legislative updates in the New Year.