*WINNER* Expanding Water Line Infrastructure to Rural Residents of Putnam County, Tennessee
Approximately 730 homes in Putnam County, Tennessee, do not have public, potable water access. Putnam County has acquired federal funds from the American Rescue Plan with the intent to make additions to the existing water line infrastructure. This research set out to gauge resident interest in receiving public water access, prioritize the order in which infrastructure projects were completed, and draw conclusions on resident perception towards receiving this added service. To confirm the hypothesis that most residents would be in favor and possess a positive perception of this added infrastructure, an online and mail-in survey was administered to each homeowner who doesn't currently have water access. A strategic communication plan was executed to promote and legitimize this survey. The results generated from the completed surveys demonstrate a significant desire for added water infrastructure from a considerable majority of homeowners in the county. It is concluded that residents without water access realize that families, communities, and economies rely on clean, reliable, and abundant water resources and services. This study calls attention to the select residents' desire not to be included in the project and a sampling of the reasons for this decision. The survey results are geocoded to pinpoint the areas with the most interest. On this basis, the water infrastructure projects should commence with the areas reflecting the highest number of supportive residents.