Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Report Warns Home News Water News Billions: Needed for Water Infrastructure by Lisa Lien-Mager

Investment in water infrastructure is not keeping up with the need, and the nation faces a funding gap of up to $84 billion by 2020 if current trends continue, the American Society of Civil Engineers warns in a report released this week.

The report, “Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Water and Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure,” notes that much of the nation’s drinking water infrastructure is old and in need of replacement. Without aggressive capital investment, pipes will leak, construction of new facilities will be delayed and waters will be polluted, and the problem will become even more expensive, the report says.

“Well-maintained public drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is critical for public health, strong businesses and clean rivers and aquifers,” the report says. “Up to this moment American households and businesses have never had to contemplate how much they are willing to pay for water if it becomes hard to obtain.”

Left unaddressed, failing water infrastructure could reduce economic output by $42 billion annually, cause the loss of up to 700,000 jobs by 2020 and prompt some businesses to relocate outside of the United States, the report warns.

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