Historic underinvestment in out-of-sight, out-of-mind water infrastructure has contributed to a dramatic state of disrepair across the nation. Much of our nation’s infrastructure was laid in the late 1800’s. According to the U.S. EPA, $354 billion is needed nationwide to revitalize our essential water infrastructure.
New Jersey is no exception. A report by Facing Our Future, a bipartisan group projects that $7.9 billion needs to be invested in New Jersey’s water infrastructure over the next five years. Between 20 and 22 percent of the state’s treated drinking water is lost long before it’s delivered to households and businesses. And with ever-changing weather patterns, New Jersey’s infrastructure is becoming more vulnerable to natural disasters.
In New Jersey, United Water is preparing to tackle the infrastructure challenge by investing nearly $220 million over the next three years. Similar levels of investment are available to city systems that choose to leverage private capital in partnership with United Water.
A majority of United Water’s investment in New Jersey will be dedicated to the oldest and most difficult to reach pipes that are most vulnerable and most likely to cause water main breaks, degradation in water quality and service disruptions. Our goal, simply put, is to systematically renew the underground backbone of the state and thereby make essential water service even more reliable.
State-of-the-art metering technology is being installed at the homes and businesses of many United Water customers in New Jersey. These investments enable the implementation of a smarter water network which can help water users better understand, control and manage their water use. Smarter meters will provide an additional tool to the company as it seeks to identify areas where the system is being burdened by waste and water theft.
This is no small task: the system used to deliver water in Bergen and parts of Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Passaic and Sussex counties alone consists of over 2,200 miles of water mains, 15,000 hydrants and 47,000 valves.
We are up for the task. And we depend on the cooperation of the customers and communities we serve to fulfill this ambitious reliability goal.