$1 Trillion Needed for Infrastructure Replacement Could Double Consumer Water Rates

Updated 10:55 AM ET April 12, 2000
DENVER, April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumer water rates could double due to aging pipe and other infrastructure replacement costs according to a report released today by the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), a consortium of organizations and stakeholder groups including the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The report, Clean and Safe Water for the 21st Century, spurred AWWA to call again today for federal government action to address the nation's growing water infrastructure crisis.

"Though the national water infrastructure is over four times larger than the federally funded national highway system, the federal government has made no commitment to help rehabilitate it," said AWWA President Steve Gorden. "The WIN report makes clear that such an approach will not only impact our public health, but consumer pocket books as well."

The report projects drinking and wastewater facilities will need to invest nearly $1 trillion in treatment plants, distribution systems and wastewater collection systems over the next 20 years. However, investment by utilities is falling $23 billion short annually due to expensive treatment and technology upgrades needed to comply with increasing federal regulations. If federal funding is not made available to help combat this shortcoming, the report suggests that water and sewer rates across the country will "more than double."

The WIN report also provides historical evidence of the federal government's commitment to other national infrastructures, such as the dredging of regional waterways by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the construction and expansion of the nation's highway system during the 1950's and 1960's.