Capital expenditures (CAPEX) for U.S. municipal water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure will exceed $683 billion over the next decade, according to new forecasts from Bluefield Research.
Improvement plans demonstrate a wide range of capital needs, but distribution and collection networks for water and wastewater – pipes, pumps, tanks, valves – dominate the forecast, at $375 billion of the 10-year total. Pipes represent 75 percent of this spend, and more than 60 percent of it is dedicated to rehabilitation of existing networks.
Bluefield’s U.S. Municipal Water Infrastructure: Utility Strategies & CAPEX Forecasts, 2018-2027 also identified emerging solutions to address chronic water infrastructure issues. Smart water and other information technology will contribute more than $16 billion, with the majority of it going to metering hardware. Utilities also increasingly view “Big Data” investments as efficient ways to map, analyze, rehabilitate and operate aging infrastructure systems.
Another Bluefield Research study reports that smarter, more-advanced asset management strategies will save water utilities $41.9 billion in capital expenditures by 2027. Utilities rely on asset management solutions to maximize asset service life and prioritize capital investment for critical infrastructure. For the water sector, concerns over older infrastructure, aging workforces and increasing climate volatility are bringing this issue to the forefront.
“By integrating advanced asset management solutions across their business, water utilities can save upwards of 20 percent on annual capital requirements, while improving operational efficiencies,” said Will Maize, research director for Bluefield. “In its essence, asset management is the core function of utilities in ensuring a sustainable, safe water supply.”
In the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe (representing 31 countries), utilities currently manage $2.9 trillion in water, wastewater and stormwater assets providing critical infrastructure services to more than 822 million people, globally. Bluefield’s forecasts indicate that advanced asset management solutions will save $1.2 billion in annual CAPEX savings in 2018 and scale to $7.3 billion annually by 2027.