US Municipal Water Infrastructure Lacks Funding: What Is the Solution?

July 20, 2016
According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the cost of repairing and expanding U.S. drinking water infrastructure will top $1 trillion in the next 25 years
This estimate is based on if pipes are replaced after their useful life, however many pipelines in North America are operating past their life expectancy and are causing severe water main breaks and loss everyday.

As the cost to renew North America’s aging infrastructure rises, there has been concern with the decrease in funding for water infrastructure. This has left various parties in limbo wondering who should be responsible for the cost of remediation. With federal funding for water infrastructure shrinking the pressure falls onto states, municipalities, and ultimately the ratepayers.

Although aging infrastructure is largely to blame, there are often cases where newly installed water mains are failing for various reasons that are typically unknown unless an internal pipe assessment is conducted.

“The proactive nature the JD7 Investigator technology allows utilities to prioritize capital expenditure and pipe remediation in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said Tom Bowman, Business Development Manager, JD7. “With thousands of miles of pipes in need of repair, we can provide a pipeline assessment to determine wall thickness, age and material of pipes so there is no guesswork or wasted funds.”

Beyond the lack of federal funding, water municipalities face another giant obstacle., non-revenue water (NRW). Underground water pipe networks are aging which means more pipe leaks and water main breaks are occurring, a costly expense to all parties. Studies have indicated that 250,000 main breaks occur a year in North America, which will cost more than $1 billion. Staying ahead of 1.6 million miles of underground water pipelines is a daunting task especially if water municipalities do not have the funding they need to make preventative changes and repairs to their lines.

Although, this situation looks bleak public-private partnerships with companies who service new technologies may have a way to balance the scales. Trenchless Technologies, such as the JD7’s water pipe assessment cameras, among many other trenchless technology services can assess the condition of existing pipes before a costly break and help utilities and municipalities get a firsthand view at the condition of their infrastructure, from the inside. JD7’s leak detection technology can lend a hand in staying ahead of their pipe lines. Inspecting includes measuring the internal pipe wall conditions, blockages, and data-driven measurements that predict the life expectancy of the piping systems. These water pipeline inspections can help reduce the number of water main breaks, and save municipalities and ratepayers a lot of money. When utilities partner with pipeline assessment companies to find out what’s really going on inside their systems before costly breaks, their assets can be used proactively to reduce NRA and effectively plan and budget for necessary pipe remediation.


About JD7
JD7 provides condition assessment, inspection and leak detection solutions for water, gas and industrial pipeline infrastructure. JD7 offers these inspection services for commercial, industrial, municipal, institutional and utilities companies located anywhere in the world. JD7 products can access and survey water and gas pipes from as small as 2 inches in diameter to an unlimited size. For more information, visit