When talking about funding infrastructure, it is so easy to focus in on the things the public can see, like roads, bridges, rail, and ports. Yet it is paramount that the public understands how the infrastructure that they cannot see—water and wastewater infrastructure—contributes to their communities’ well-being. Water and wastewater utilities are responsible for delivering life sustaining clean water, protecting the public by capturing and treating wastewater from our homes, and removing harmful bacteria and other pathogens from our water before it is put back into our environment. However, our buried infrastructure has been neglected in far too many communities, for far too long.
The cost to repair and replace these systems is growing, along with the future burden on rate payers if adequate public funding is not made available. The ASCE Report Card estimates that when we balance future needs with projected funding supporting over the next 10 years, we will be left with a $105 billion investment gap to meet our water and wastewater needs. As America celebrates Infrastructure Week, it is important to point out that these invisible entities are, and need to be, included in the national #TimeToBuild call to action. While other utilities like energy and transportation require and deserve increased funding, kicking the proverbial can down the road for water and wastewater utilities isn’t helping or protecting anyone, it’s actually putting our water, our safety, and our economy at risk.
Voices from Around the Firm: Why it’s Time to Build