Much of the US water and wastewater infrastructure was constructed generations ago and is nearing or at the end of its useful life, as evidenced by the 650 water main breaks every day and two trillion gallons of treated water lost every year at an estimated cost of $2.6 billion. The United States Conference of Mayors forecasts water and wastewater investment needs of up to $4.8 trillion over the next 20 years. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimate the current water infrastructure funding gap to be between $500 billion and $1 trillion.
Confronted with budget deficits and scarce funding resources, federal, state and local governments are hard-pressed to help cover the costs of replacing crumbling and leaking water infrastructure. But there must be a way to increase investment in water and wastewater infrastructure or the impact will be disastrous.
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