ASCE 2017 Report Rates U.S. Water, Wastewater Infrastructure Low

D, D+ grades suggest urgent calls for repair or replacement

asce, 2017, report, water, wastewater, infrastructure, u.s.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the country’s water and wastewater systems grades of D and D+, respectively. The findings released by ASCE affirm the need to repair or replace aging water infrastructure to ensure resiliency for health, safety and robust local economies.

From Flint, Mich., to Los Angeles, Calif., and hundreds of other communities, the effects of the nation’s crumbling water infrastructure are threat to the nation’s wellbeing and quality of life. The continued deterioration of the nation’s water systems could lead to increased water service disruptions, more barriers to emergency response, impacts to other public infrastructure, as well as threats to public health for many Americans.

While the nation’s water infrastructure faces significant challenges, the National Association of Water Companies’ member utilities work diligently with their respective state economic regulators to ensure rates for water service, support the investment needed to meet all water quality and environmental standards, and provide the service that customers expect and deserve.

Services provided by water utilities are more than twice as capital-intensive as electricity and telecommunication utilities, and nearly three times as capital-intensive as natural gas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency forecasts capital needs of $600 billion over the next 20 years to upgrade pipes, treatment facilities, storage facilities, and other assets for drinking and wastewater systems. Many communities faced with the financial challenges of paying for needed water infrastructure improvements can access federal programs. Because these federal programs can sometimes be limited in scope, having access to private capital for public water infrastructure projects also is a viable option.

Private operators can help communities. Private water companies have a stellar drinking water quality compliance record. The operational disciplines of the private water sector have provided communities with the necessary economies of scale, efficiencies, expertise, and application of new technologies to help overcome water challenges.

Michael Deane, National Association of Water Companies

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