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Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Water and Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure

failure to act-water.jpgFor the American Society of Civil Engineers, EDR Group completed a first of its kind report that looks at the economic costs associated with failing to maintain the nation’s aging water delivery and wastewater treatment infrastructure. The focus of this report is on the pipes, treatment plants, pumping stations, and other infrastructure that make up the nation’s public drinking-water and wastewater systems.

 This report analyzes two types of infrastructure needs:

1. Building new infrastructure to service increasing populations and expanded economic activity; and

2. Maintaining or rebuilding existing infrastructure that needs repair or replacement.

By 2020, the national investment gap will be $84 billion, based on current spending and needs trends. In 2020, the costs to businesses and households to maintain reliable water delivery, wastewater treatment and wet weather management is estimated to by $38 billion, and the cumulative costs for in lieu of dependable infrastructure system may run over $200 billion for the years 2011-2020. Depending on how well businesses adapt to shortages due to unreliable infrastructure (e.g., implementing new sustainability practices to use less water in production processes, using recycled water and other methods), the national economy could lose $65--$81 billion of GDP in 2020 and 500,000 – 700,000 jobs beyond levels predicted for that year assuming reliable water and wastewater treatment services)

This is the second report in ASCE’s Failure to Act series prepared by Economic Development Research Group. The first report, Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Surface Transportation Infrastructure, encompasses highways, bridges, rail, and transit. Subsequent reports addressed energy transmission, as well as airports and marine ports.  The third report, Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Electricity Infrastructure, examines ways that households and business will face higher costs if sufficient electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems are not available in the future. The fourth report, Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Airports, Inland Waterways and Marine Ports Infrastructure, focuses on the pipes, treatment plants, pumping stations, and other infrastructure that make up the nation’s public drinking-water and wastewater systems. Following release of the four reports, a Failure to Act summary report that looks at infrastructure overall was released as well.

Read a Copy of Full Water and Wastewater Report

Failure to Act Economic Studies

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