Fact Sheet About Water Infrastructure

Our Nation's Infrastructure
Much of our water infrastructure - the water treatment plants and distribution systems - was built 100 years ago for a much smaller population.  Those systems are aging and overburdened. 

Although new facilities and technologies are coming on line every day, it is still necessary to upgrade to keep pace with increasing needs and environmental challenges.  But the investment by governments in the water infrastructure is on the decline throughout the country. 

Quick Facts
The Centers for Disease Control credits treatment of drinking water in the US since 1900 for the virtual elimination of water borne disease such as typhoid, cholera, and hepatitis A and helping to increase life expectancy in the US by 30 years. - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999; Control of Infectious Diseases."  CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  July 30, 1999.

Clean water supports a $50 billion per year recreation industry, $300 billion in coastal tourism and $45 billion in commercial fishing and shell fishing industries, and hundreds of billions of dollars a year in basic manufacturing that relies on clean water.  - Water Infrastructure Network, Water Infrastructure Now: Recommendations for Clean and Safe Water in the 21st Century (April 2000), p. 1.

Congressional Budget Office estimates many rural and urban systems lose 20 percent or more of the water they produce through leaks in their pipes. - Congressional Budget Office, Future Investment in Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure (November 2002), p. 8.

By 2030, the average drinking water utility will have to spend about three and half times as much on pipe replacement due to wear out than it does today.  The average utility will also spend three times as much on repairs in that year as it spends today, as pipes get older and more prone to breakage. - American Water Works Association, Dawn of the Replacement Era: Reinvesting in Drinking Water Infrastructure (May 2001), p. 6.