EPA releases water infrastructure gap analysis, calls for national forum

Oct. 1, 2002
During her keynote address at WEFTEC in Chicago, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman presented the Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis and called for a national forum of stakeholders to address the issue.
"This report looks at infrastructure in the broad sense -- everything it takes to deliver clean, safe water to America's homes and businesses and then remove and treat the waste water that results," said Whitman.

Oct. 1, 2002 -- During the recent Water Environment Federation's 75th Annual Conference in Chicago, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Whitman called for a national forum early next year that will bring together prominent experts and stakeholders so that they can have the opportunity to discuss innovative approaches on how to best meet infrastructure challenges.

EPA released the "Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis" on the estimated funding needs of our nation's water pipes and plants.

"This report looks at infrastructure in the broad sense -- everything it takes to deliver clean, safe water to America's homes and businesses and then remove and treat the waste water that results," said Whitman. "From the simplest pipe to the most complex treatment system, we looked at the entire picture."

Assuming no growth in revenues, the total need for clean water -- in both capital and operations and maintenance -- exceeds $270 billion over 20 years. For drinking water, the gap approaches $265 billion for the same period.

The size of the gap can be reduced substantially if a real growth in revenues is projected over the same period. Assuming a three percent annual real growth in revenues, for example, the gap shrinks by nearly 90 percent on the clean water side and by about 80 percent on the drinking water side.

"The actual gap may end up somewhere in between these numbers -- and there are an enormous number of considerations that will go into determining where the gap ends up. The important thing about this report is that it enables us to engage the discussion with a better understanding of what the dimensions of the challenge really are," Whitman said.

For fiscal year 2003, the Administration has already proposed the largest combined request for the state drinking water and clean water revolving loan funds in history -- $2.1 billion. Whitman said that meeting the challenge will require the harnessing of the power of the public and private sectors both for financing and for the development of new technologies and innovations.

For a copy of the "Gap Analysis" log on http://www.epa.gov/owm/featinfo.htm.

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