Providing clean and reliable water and environmental services is what we do at United Water. And like many of the over 50,000 water utilities and 16,000 wastewater utilities across the nation, public and environmental health is our duty. But to maintain the level of standards that our customers expect, we need to raise awareness of the challenges facing our aging water infrastructure.
A panelist at an event hosted by The Value of Water Coalition in Washington DC this week said that the water industry may in fact be a victim of its own success. Despite many pipes being 90 – 100 years old, water service is pretty reliable. And major catastrophes involving water main breaks are not the norm – yet.
A majority of Americans rightfully expect reliable service from their utilities. But many are unaware that this invaluable resource is in need of leadership; new ways of thinking about an old problem; and new financing approaches. In fact, only 40% of water customers make connection between strong water infrastructure & clean drinking water.
It is no secret that our communities are now relying on aging infrastructure in need of repair or replacement. We know that American cities and towns collectively need to invest hundreds of billions of dollars – between $400 billion and $1 trillion– in their public water and sewer systems.
Investing in water infrastructure is not only important for our domestic use, but it is also fundamental to support our economy at all levels. More than 86 % of water use goes to manufacturing, industries and agriculture.
We know that we can do our part to invest, even if the resulting rate increases can be unpopular. This is why United Water is preparing to invest nearly $1 billion in infrastructure in the next five years. Similar levels of investment are available to cities who choose to partner with us to unlock the hidden value of their underground resources.