Clean, safe water is undervalued and the current water pricing system does not reflect its true cost or value. There is a tremendous need for a better understanding of and appreciation for the worth of clean and safe water. True water valuation will capture the treatment and transmission costs of water, water’s essential role in human and ecosystem health and survival, its economic contributions to recreation and tourism, and the cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic elements of water. Properly valuing water goes beyond pricing and financing. It includes recognition that this finite resource needs an ethic to ensure water and watersheds are used and protected more effectively, efficiently, and equitably.
The U.S. Water Alliance believes steps should be taken to improve how the public and policy makers value clean and sustainable water and shape public policy affecting it. Ideas suggested during the Alliance’s national dialogue series include dramatically increasing outreach and educational efforts on the value of water, moving toward a true cost pricing system and life cycle planning, better integrating water-dependent sectors, investing in sustainable solutions, and improving cooperation across political and watershed boundaries.