DENVER — The cost of repairing and expanding U.S. drinking water infrastructure will top $1 trillion in the next 25 years, an expense that likely will be met primarily through higher water bills and local fees, an American Water Works Association (AWWA) report asserts.
The report, Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge, analyzes many factors, including timing of water main installation and life expectancy, materials used, replacement costs and shifting demographics, the association says. Nationally, the infrastructure needs are almost evenly divided between replacement and expansion requirements.
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 AWWA report says. “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.”