The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released results of a survey showing that $384 billion in improvements are needed for the nation’s drinking water infrastructure through 2030 for systems to continue providing safe drinking water to 297 million Americans.
EPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment identifies investments needed over the next 20 years for thousands of miles of pipes and thousands of treatment plants, storage tanks and water distribution systems, which are all vital to public health and the economy. The national total of $384 billion includes the needs of 73,400 water systems across the country, as well as American Indian and Alaska Native Village water systems.
The survey, required under the Safe Drinking Water Act to be submitted to Congress every four years by EPA, was developed in consultation with all 50 states and the Navajo Nation. The survey looked at the funding and operational needs of more than 3,000 public drinking water systems across the United States, including those in Tribal communities, through an extensive questionnaire. In many cases, drinking water infrastructure was reported to be 50 to 100 years old.
The assessment shows that improvements are primarily needed in:
• Distribution and transmission: $247.5B to replace or refurbish aging or deteriorating lines;
• Treatment: $72.5B to construct, expand or rehabilitate infrastructure to reduce contamination;
• Storage: $39.5B to construct, rehabilitate or cover finished water storage reservoirs; and
• Source: $20.5B to construct or rehabilitate intake structures, wells and spring collectors.