The massive investment needed for buried drinking water infrastructure in the United States totals more than $1 trillion between now and 2035, according to an American Water Works Association report. The need will double from roughly $13 billion a year today to almost $30 billion (in 2010 dollars) annually by the 2040s, and the cost will be met primarily through higher water bills and local fees.
“Because pipe assets last a long time, water systems that were built in the latter part of the 19th century and throughout much of the 20th century have, for the most part, never experienced the need for pipe replacement on a large scale,” the report states. “The dawn of an era in which the assets will need to be replaced puts a growing stress on communities that will continue to increase for decades to come.”
Nationally, the infrastructure needs are almost evenly divided between replacement and expansion requirements.
Buried No Longer: Confronting America's Water Infrastructure Challenge analyzes timing of water main installation and life expectancy, materials used, replacement costs, and shifting demographics. It includes more than 35 tables and graphs detailing information by region and utility size. Visit www.awwa.org.