Replacing a Dying Water Infrastructure

by Nick Rayes,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2003

Abstract: The water infrastructure in the United States will soon need massive repairs. Pipes are leaking, and most pipes are near the end of their life cycles. Tens of thousands of sewer overflows occur each year, and they are common to many sanitary systems. In many areas, the drinking water and wastewater systems are quickly falling behind the pace of growth and are inadequate for the levels of use required of them. Pipes need to be replaced, other components may need modification or replacement, and systems need to be expanded, but all of this costs money. In the next decades, estimates for repairs and maintenance of the water infrastructure are in the trillions of dollars. Some one has to pay for it, and ultimately it comes down to private households and businesses that drink water and produce waste. The question is how to meet the needs of an aging water infrastructure while maintaining reasonable prices for the consumer. What is the cheapest way to overhaul drinking water systems and clean water systems? This essay argues that private water companies are the best answer to solving the infrastructure problem. While many assume that the federal government should provide the bulk of the burden, private water offers several benefits and options over a bulky, potentially cumbersome federal program.

Subject Headings: Infrastructure | Federal government | Pipe leakage | Drinking water | Life cycles | Overflow | Sewers | Wastewater management | North America | United States

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