Private Water Provides Much Needed Capital Investment
One thing Americans of all political persuasions can agree on is that our infrastructure is in dire need of investment and repair, including our aging water pipes. In fact, a recent NAWC/TFTT poll found that an overwhelming majority – 74% of those surveyed – are concerned about the nation’s water infrastructure and believe that rebuilding our infrastructure should be a high priority for the country.
But infrastructure fixes are not cheap and water treatment facilities and distribution systems require substantial capital investment to ensure the water we drink is indeed safe. In fact, water-related services are significantly more capital-intensive than other utilities such as electricity, telecommunications and natural gas.
The EPA estimates are staggering. U.S. communities need $384 billion in investment through 2030 for drinking water infrastructure alone, with another $271 billion needed for wastewater infrastructure. While there is a lot of talk in Washington about policies to rebuild our infrastructure, one thing is clear: the federal government does not have a magic pot of federal dollars available to rebuild water infrastructure all on its own.
Further, cities and towns have many obligations and face difficult decisions on how to spend their limited budgets all while facing declining revenues, rising costs and reduced state support. The pressure of reconciling the need to provide public services with the reality of strained budgets no doubt weighs heavily on the minds of city officials.
That’s why many municipal water utilities are turning to the private sector for support and solutions, which include access to capital for water system investments. The five largest private water companies alone invest more than $2 billion annually to improve community tap water systems across the country. From public-private partnerships to acquisitions, the private water industry offers local officials proven solutions to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of water to their community.