U.S. aging water infrastructure and what it means for our economy



Clean water is fundamental to our economy and our health. Sustainable source of drinking water is critical not only for survival but also for our long-term economic growth. Although we usually do not associate the value of clean water to number of jobs, these two are very closely linked.

According to a report released by The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2011, United States faces a serious water challenge that directly threatens jobs and economy. Here are some sobering facts from the report:

  • Aging water infrastructure will cost U.S. businesses $147 billion over the next decade.
  • Unless new investments are made, by 2020 unreliable and insufficient water infrastructure will cost the average American household $900 a year in higher water rates and lower wages.
  • American businesses can expect an additional $147 billion in increased costs and the economy will lose 700,000 jobs by 2020.

The report also identifies three sectors of the economy that will suffer the most if our water infrastructure is not improved in the near future. These sectors are:

  • Retail
  • Restaurants and bars, and
  • Construction businesses

While there is no quick fix to address our nation’s water challenge, adopting sustainability practices such as using efficient equipment changes, adopting green infrastructure and conserving water everyday can help with reduce the impact of this challenge.

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