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Public Works
Copyright 2001 Gale Group Inc. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT 2001 Public Works
Journal Corporation

Wednesday, August 1, 2001

ISSN: 0033-3840; Volume 132; Issue 9

The cost of water becomes an issue.(drinking water infrastructure report
(Brief Article)

The cost of water becomes an issue. The American Water Works
Association (AWWA) has issued a study that concludes the nation must
invest $250 billion to replace aging drinking water infrastructure over
the next 30 years, at a cost ranging from $550 to $6,900 per household.

The spending on aging drinking water mains, valves, and fittings does
not include the $12 billion being spent yearly by utilities on
infrastructure replacement, or spending to meet new federal standards
for drinking water, or concurrent needs to replace sewer pipes and to
meet new discharge requirements for stormwater.

AWWA surveyed 20 utilities. It claimed the review was the first to
analyze specific utilities' infrastructure replacement needs, rather
than relying upon survey-based estimates, to forecast national
infrastructure investment requirements.

AWWA Executive Director Jack Hoffbuhr said, "The utilities in this
study represent the best in the business; they were chosen in part
because they are so well-managed. By studying these best case scenarios,
we come to understand what we must do to maintain a reliable drinking
water infrastructure for all of us."

The report finds that spending on pipe replacement must triple over
the next 30 years. The American drinking water infrastructure network
spans more than 700,000 miles.

AWWA said most utilities across the country will have to confront a
convergence of replacement needs over the next several decades, as pipes
laid a century ago, in the 1920s, and the post World War II era all need
to be replaced over a relatively short period.

Separately, AWWA said American consumers could save $35 billion simply
by using widely available water efficient plumbing products in their

According to AWWA's survey of 3,700 utilities, the use of more
efficient plumbing fixtures would reduce the amount of water needs by
3.5 billion gallons per day.

It said, "This reduction results in smaller operation and maintenance costs at water utilities, as well as downsized or deferred capital projects. When combined with the resulting energy savings from the downsizing, communities will save $127 per person by 2020, savings that translate into $35 billion for the nation."



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