Civil engineers urge federal government to create water trust fund to close $534 billion gap in water infrastructure investment

Oct. 3, 2002
Civil engineers are urging the Bush administration to create a water trust fund to finance the growing national shortfall in water infrastructure funding.

Washington, DC, Oct. 3, 2002 -- The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) urges the Bush administration to enhance its role in providing resources and funds to replace the nation's aging water infrastructure systems by creating a water trust fund to finance the growing national shortfall, contradicting one of the chief conclusions in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report released yesterday.

According to The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis, the estimated funding gap in water infrastructure investment is a staggering $534 billion dollars over the next 20 years.

The report concludes that state and local governments can shoulder the responsibility of closing the gap by increasing their capital and operations and maintenance budgets by three percent annually for the next twenty years, with no federal contributions needed.

However, the report does not consider the impact of future population growth and new construction on the nation's overburdened water infrastructure systems.

"The case for federal investment is compelling when you consider that failing to meet the investment needs for water infrastructure over the next 20 years puts the public health, environmental and economic gains of the last three decades in peril," said ASCE President H. Gerard Schwartz, Jr., P.E., Ph.D., F.ASCE. "This report's assertion that state and local government can shoulder the burden of offsetting the shortfall in water infrastructure funding is unacceptable."

It is critical that the federal government take a leadership role in solving the problem of our decaying water infrastructure by establishing a flexible federal investment program that includes grants, loans and other forms of assistance coupled with local and state funds. Grants are needed for many communities that simply cannot afford to meet public health, environmental or service-level requirements.

Loans and credit enhancements may be sufficient for other types of communities with greater economies of scale, wealthier populations, or fewer assets per capita to replace.

In March 2001, ASCE released the 2001 Report Card for America's Infrastructure giving 12 infrastructure categories an overall grade of "D+". Both drinking water and waste water systems earned a "D."

At the time of the Report Card's release, the nation's 54,000 drinking water systems faced an annual shortfall of $11 billion needed to replace pipes and facilities that are nearing the end of their lifespan and must comply with federal regulations.

Wastewater systems also face enormous needs. Several of the 16,000 sewer systems are 100 years old. ASCE estimates an annual shortfall of $12 billion in funding for infrastructure needs. However, federal funding has remained flat for a decade.

Founded in 1852, ASCE represents 125,000 civil engineers worldwide and is the nation's oldest engineering society. ASCE is now celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Sponsored Recommendations

SmartSights WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Enables Faster Response

March 15, 2024
Alarm notification software enables faster response for customers, keeping production on track

Automated Fresh Water Treatment

March 15, 2024
SCADA, Automation and Control for Efficient and Compliant Operations

Digital Transformation Enables Smart Water

March 15, 2024
During this webinar we will discuss factors driving the transformation to digital water, water industry trends, followed by a summary of solutions (products & services) available...

Automation for Water Treatment and Distribution Systems

Jan. 31, 2024
Dependable, Flexible Control Solutions to Maximize Productivity