Mary Grant |
A range of private players in the water arena, including water service companies like American Water, are part of a relatively new corporate effort to coordinate public outreach about the “Value of Water.”
It is a fairly clever PR tactic that plays on two meanings of the word value: importance and monetary worth. The idea seems to be to convince the public to pay more for water service by tying water’s importance to its price.
The argument goes: Something of great value is worth a lot and should be priced accordingly, so if you think water is important, you should pay more for it. Although illogical, this line of thought is supposed to make people more amenable to hikes in their water bills and even to pricing water on a market.
Without a doubt, water is important. In fact, it is too important to let whims of Wall Street dictate access to it and too important to let price force families to go without it.
Xylem, Inc., a water technology firm that spun off from ITT Corp. last year, is one company that has been touting the Value of Water.
The firm was a sponsor of the American Water Summit, an industry conference held last month, and used the venue to talk about its Value of Water campaign. Xylem CEO Gretchen McClain was one of the conference’s keynote speakers and presented the findings of her company’s 2012 Value of Water Index, a national poll of U.S. voters about water infrastructure issues.