Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region, causing millions of dollars of damage to homes, roads, and other structures. One of the hardest-hit areas, though, is water infrastructure.
According to the Water Environment Federation (WEF), wastewater utilities—crucial to the successful rebuilding of communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama—were hit hard with structural damage caused by floods and high winds, but they also stand to suffer from lost revenue. Because cities in the surge zone lost up to 80% of their population, the utilities will take in reduced revenues, and some may default on preexisting debt held by bond holders.
WEF puts the estimate for total damages to wastewater utilities in the hurricane's surge zone—including the impact on infrastructure and revenues—at $1.4 billion, and the cost to repair and rebuild affected utilities at $1.2 billion.
For more information, visit www.wef.org.