Today’s United Nation World Water Day highlights the importance of fresh water and the need to sustainably manage this resource essential for life. It also marks 2013 as the year of International Water Cooperation. United Water fully supports World Water Day’s goals as we work in cooperation with communities across the US to protect and maintain the quality of water reaching homes and keep the water in our rivers, lakes and oceans clean.
Today is also a day when we should remind government leaders here to address head-on the growing challenge of maintaining water systems in the US.
The urgent need to address America’s water challenge was underlined by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), whose latest report card on US infrastructure, issued March 19, graded the nation’s water systems a “D,” meaning there is a “strong risk of failure.” Funding is at the root of the problem – and offers the solution. The report card says that where investment is made, grades improve.
As our CEO, Bertrand Camus put it: “Having access to clean, safe water and the need to care for the environment matters to everyone, no matter where they live. The daily challenges associated with that are no less critical in the US than elsewhere. The ‘D’ grade underlined what we know from our own experience, that decades of deferred investment can no longer be deferred. Public health and the economy will ultimately be put at risk. Municipal leaders responsible for our water and wastewater systems need creative alternatives to address the problem. It needs both public and private sector solutions.”
United Water is demonstrating its support for cities in several ways. United Water, in partnership with investment bank KKR and the City of Bayonne, NJ, recently initiated its new SOLUTION℠ model to address the city’s water infrastructure needs. United Water is cooperating with financers and municipalities to bring the SOLUTION℠ model to other cities. SOLUTION℠ has the additional benefit of helping cities improve their credit rating.
Bayonne Mayor Mark A. Smith credited SOLUTION℠ as a major reason for the first upgrade in five years of the city’s bond rating. Earlier this March, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Bayonne from Baa1 with negative outlook to Baa1 with stable outlook. This change makes it cheaper to for the city to make investments that help its economy grow.