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2024 State of the U.S. Water Well Industry Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 18, 2024 --The Water Systems Council (WSC) has released its 3rd Annual State of the U.S. Water Well Industry report that provides new insights into how the industry looked at the end of 2023 and the outlook for 2024.

Commissioned by WSC and conducted by a third-party company during the fourth quarter of 2023, the 2024 State of the U.S. Water Well Industry Report is the third annual report on the issues and opportunities facing the water well industry nationwide.

For the 2024 report, 967 industry professionals were surveyed. Respondents included water well contractors (66%), distributors (20%), manufacturers (11%), and manufacturer representatives (3%). There was an 8% increase in participation in the 2024 survey vs. the 2023 survey.

Survey respondents viewed 2024 with cautious optimism, with the overall positive outlook slipping from 6.9 in 2023 to 6.8 in 2024. This year is forecasted to feel much more like a "normal" year for the first time since before the pandemic. The supply chain has stabilized, demand is leveling off, and pricing and interest rates are less volatile. However, with 2024 comes election year uncertainty and unpredictable weather patterns.

The survey also found that the average water well contractor earns $2.4M in annual revenue and has 14 employees. When asked about their 2023 revenue vs. 2022, 34% of contractors saw an increase in revenue while 50% said revenue remained the same and 16% experienced a decrease in revenue in 2023.
Additional insights from the new report include:

  • Reliance on home starts is waning, while increased awareness of the importance of water quality has the potential to create opportunity and margin.
  • The industry experiences relief from supply chain woes yet faces ongoing challenges due to persistently high inflation and shifting economic conditions.
  • Employers are getting creative and investing in much more than just increased salaries to recruit and retain employees.
  • An aging workforce paired with difficulty recruiting younger workers leads to uncertain succession in the industry.
  • Increasingly, workers value the independence of working in this industry.
  • The industry overwhelmingly looks to training to solve workforce challenges, aging workforce, and technology adoption.
  • 64% of respondents rate the impact of regulation on their business as moderate to significant.
  • Regulatory overlap and inconsistencies will intensify confusion and complexity in the industry.
  • While at least 20% consider obtaining various operating licenses "difficult," there is a call for the requirement and enforcement of these licenses.
  • Impact from weather-related events grew in 2023 across all regions except the Midwest.
  • Contractors are receptive to advanced technology, yet training and support are essential to facilitate successful adoption and encourage distributors to actively market advancements.
  • The percentage of contractors planning significant investments in 2024 has decreased, while the proportion of suppliers intending to invest remains constant.
The full 2024 State of the U.S. Water Well Industry Report, which features an executive summary, detailed charts and graphs, and individual comments from survey participants and WSC legal and government affairs staff, is available for free download from the WSC website.

The Water Systems Council is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the wider use of wells as safe, sustainable, and cost-effective drinking water systems, protecting groundwater resources and users of well water, and ensuring a safe drinking water supply for well owners. WSC members include major manufacturers of the integral components of wells and other drinking water systems, leading distributors of these components, and various drinking water professionals. WSC is the only national nonprofit organization with programs solely focused on private water wells and small, shared wells.

For more information, visit watersystemscouncil.org.

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