The aging water infrastructure

The aging water infrastructure

waterDrinking water is delivered over one million miles of pipe across the country. Most of those pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years.

The quality of drinking water remains high in the US, but legacy and emerging contaminants continue to require close attention. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year, wasting over two trillion gallons of treated drinking water. According to the American Water Works Association, an estimated $1 trillion is necessary to maintain and expand service to demands over the next 25 years.

42 billion gallons of water is used daily in home, factories and offices across the US. About 80% of drinking water in the US comes from surface water like rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and oceans, with the remaining 20% from groundwater aquifers. There are roughly 155,000 active public drinking water systems across the country.

It comes as no surprise that a large proportion of US water infrastructure is approaching, or has already reached, the end of its useful life. The need to replace these pipe networks are part of the water investment needs.

It also come on top of wastewater and storm water investment needed. By judging from the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) most recent “gap analysis”—are likely to be as large as drinking water needs over the coming decades.

Water and wastewater infrastructure needs come on top of the other vital community infrastructures. Planning for infrastructure replacement requires credible, analysis-based estimates of where, when, and how much pipe replacement or expansion for growth is required. New infrastructure needs to be addressed including inventory of critical assets, condition and performance.

It also examines the additional pipe investments we can anticipate meeting projected population growth, regional population shifts, and service area growth through 2050.

The estimated total cost to update the US water systems is $334.8 billion