The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is leading an effort this election season to send a clear message to our elected officials and political candidates that investment in water infrastructure is an investment in America’s future.
WEF, its Member Associations, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), Veolia Water, and others are partnering on the campaign Water for Jobs: Water Puts America to Work, which makes the business case for water infrastructure investment by emphasizing the irrefutable link between investment and job creation.
“With millions of Americans out of work, there has never been a more critical time to reinvest in our essential water infrastructure,” said WEF Executive Director Jeff Eger. “WEF and our partners are working together to deliver the message that water investment must be a national priority.”
Despite having some of the most world-class treatment systems, much of the U.S. water and wastewater infrastructure was built more than a century ago. According to David LaFrance, executive director of the American Water Works Association, “The cost of repairing and expanding U.S. drinking water infrastructure alone will top $1 trillion in the next 25 years. Postponing needed investment raises the overall cost and increases the likelihood of water main breaks and other infrastructure failures.”
Recently, the Association of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave water and wastewater infrastructure a D minus rating. “With needs outpacing investment, the U.S. is falling behind many developed nations, potentially impacting its ability to compete in a global market,” said Laurent Auguste, president and CEO of Veolia Water Americas.
WEF and its partners recognize that failure to make the necessary investments will result in unreliable water delivery and wastewater treatment services and may lead to $206 billion in increased costs for businesses and households between now and 2020. Unless the investment gap is addressed by 2040, 1.4 million jobs could be at risk.
“It is estimated that an investment of $188.4 billion over the next five years would generate $265.6 billion in economic activity and create nearly 1.9 million jobs,” continued Eger. “By allowing the gap between needs and investment to grow, we not only miss an opportunity to address unemployment but also create a threat to existing jobs and businesses. It’s time for water to take its rightful place in the national conversation and to become a top agenda item for our elected officials.”
Visit www.waterforjobs.org for more information and learn about how you can get involved.