By Aqua Senior Vice President, Engineering and Environmental Affairs, Bill Ross
In honor of Infrastructure Week, May 15-19, 2017, Aqua is helping raise awareness about the need for substantial investment in the United States’ water infrastructure system, and sharing facts about how our company is proud to take a proactive and strategic role in the ongoing effort to replace aging infrastructure in the systems we run.
Infrastructure Week is a national week of events, education and advocacy efforts to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting all Americans. And the network that allows us to treat and distribute water to our customers is no exception.
Drinking water in the United States is delivered via a complex, nationwide system of pipes, filtration plants and pumps. As a whole, this system is in need of significant repair. In fact, many of the pipes across the country are reaching the end of their 100-year lifespan, which creates an increased risk for contamination and leakage.
In fact, the 2017 American Society for Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card ranked the United States’ drinking water and wastewater infrastructure systems a “D” and “D+” respectively. The report card estimates there are 240,000 water main breaks per year that waste over two trillion gallons of treated drinking water. Additionally, it is estimated that leaky, aging pipes waste enough water to support 15 million households per day. There is no quick, cheap fix for this problem, because according to the American Water Works Association, an estimated $1 trillion is needed to maintain and expand drinking water service to meet demands over the next 25 years.
Despite the state of our nation’s water infrastructure system, drinking water quality remains the safest in the world. At Aqua, we see it as a great responsibility to replace aging infrastructure and deliver safe, reliable drinking water to our customers.
In 2017, Aqua plans to invest $450 million, with a focus on replacing 150 miles of water mains throughout our eight states. This investment will help save billions of gallons of water from leaking water mains. Over the last five years alone, Aqua invested $1.5 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure.
At Aqua, we understand the challenges facing the nation over the next few decades and we work every day to help revitalize the nation’s infrastructure. Aqua is constantly repairing and replacing old, outdated facilities, water mains, water and wastewater plants, and well stations. We intend to continue our commitment to replace aging infrastructure and our promise to deliver safe drinking water for generations to come.