Water infrastructure needs 'all hands on deck' approach
Statement from NAWC Executive Director Michael Deane on Infrastructure Week 2017.
WASHINGTON, DC, MAY 17. 2017 -- This week, the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) joins over 150 organizations supporting Infrastructure Week 2017, May 15-19, to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting all Americans.
Much of America's water infrastructure is outdated, overused and underserviced. Many of our water pipes are more than 100 years old -- some dating back to the Civil War era -- and are in need of replacement. Support for upgrading and revitalizing our infrastructure is bipartisan -- it is a known fact that we can no longer afford to defer investment in our nation's critical infrastructure systems.
All infrastructure is critical to the success and vitality of our country, but safe, reliable water service is essential to life and why the NAWC wants to amplify awareness of the nation's critical water infrastructure needs.
Michael Deane, Executive Director of the NAWC, released the following statement:
"At NAWC, we are pleased to see infrastructure become a part of the national conversation. Every year that we neglect to adequately invest in our water infrastructure, the United States becomes less competitive. Our economy grows more slowly, and communities and businesses lose valuable time and money.
"Infrastructure Week is a time to address water challenges and the need for strong partners to fund large and transformative projects. All types of infrastructure is crucial – transportation, roads, ports, and airports all play critical roles in the vitality of our communities. However, it is imperative that everyone begins to view water infrastructure as the backbone of the broader infrastructure conversation. This effort will require unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sectors to implement innovative solutions and make a lasting impact.
"The stewardship of a community's water service is a public trust that private water companies diligently protect—and this is done without any reliance on tax dollars or government subsidies. Private water companies understand the necessity of timely and consistent investment to build and improve water infrastructure. NAWC estimates its six largest regulated utilities alone collectively invest nearly $2.7 billion each year in their water systems, which provide service to about six percent of the U.S. population. In contrast, the current total federal appropriation for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs is approximately $2.3 billion annually.
"The American Society for Civil Engineers' 2017 Infrastructure Report Card highlights a $105 billion investment gap for water and wastewater infrastructure from 2016-2025. Investment has been inadequate for decades and will continue to be underfunded unless we reevaluate our current strategies and the ways in which we work together.
"An 'all-hands-on-deck' approach with unprecedented cooperation between government officials, the public and private water sectors, and customers is critical. Across the United States, everyone has a role to play – and the NAWC, its member companies, and the private water industry are ready to help close the country's infrastructure investment gap."
About the NAWC
The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) is the voice of the private water industry and the organization exclusively representing this group of quality water service providers, innovation drivers, creative financiers and responsible partners. To learn more about NAWC, visit NAWC.org or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.