It is possible to create 1.3 million jobs and generate US$220 billion. How? Close the gap in water infrastructure

A new report recently published its findings that closing the investment gap in water infrastructure in the United States of America (USA) will not only create 1.3 million jobs, it can produce up to US$220 billion in economic development and activity.

The study also found harsh financial losses regarding the stagnation. A single-day disruption in water services can cost US$43.5 billion in sales and US$22.5 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) on a national level. On the state level, the single day disruption in water services may see industries with the most dependency on water finding that they are losing up to 75 per cent of sales.

The Value of Water Campaign commissioned a report titled ‘The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure’ in order to attain a deeper understanding of how investments in the water infrastructure could impact the employment rate and economic growth of the country. One of the members in this effort to promote positive solutions for America’s serious water challenges and raise national awareness is the Water Environment Federation (WEF).

The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that just managing services for clean, drinkable, dependable water alone needs a supplemented US$82 billion from in water infrastructure from all governmental levels each year over the coming ten years. The budget would be distributed all around the nation, with 34 per cent to the South, 23 per cent to the West, another 23 per cent to the Midwest, and the final 20 percent for the Northeast.

But despite the rising demand for water, the investigation has discovered that instead of increasing accordingly, the national government’s input to water infrastructure is decreasing. Federal investment have been averaging at nine per cent in recent years, a sharp drop from the 60 per cent the government was contributing 40 years ago, in the 1970s.

“Although we are pleased to see a proposed FY 2018 Budget Request that includes a slight increase to water infrastructure funding programmes, it still falls short of the billions that are needed to modernise our systems and to maintain the quality and service that our communities are accustomed to receiving,” Eileen O Neill, Executive Director of the WEF, said. “Inadequate investment in our water infrastructure, as well as reductions in funding for watershed protections and water-related research, poses a real threat to our water resources and our quality of life.”

The publishing of this report has been timed to coincide with Water Week and World Water Day – national and global efforts respectively – developed to bring to centre-stage the importance and value of clean and safe water that is necessary for the preservation of a growing economy, the environment, and public health.

This study was released just as the progressively complicated water challenges are simultaneously being exacerbated by the dated and overstressed drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater management systems, as well as the regulatory requirements that occasionally surpass the capacities of the water and wastewater facilities the nation possesses.

“The report findings make it clear that investments in water infrastructure generate high quality jobs, increases the competitiveness of American businesses, and leads to a significant injection of economic activity throughout the nation,” Executive Director of the Value of Water Campaign, Radhika Fox, said. “That is the message we want public officials on Capitol Hill and across the country to hear: Investing in water equals jobs. Investing in water infrastructure builds a prosperous America.”


Source: WaterWorld, Water Environment Federation