Water Companies Invest More Than $3 Billion in Community Water Systems in 2018

As pipes and pumps age and treatment facilities require upgrades, America’s water infrastructure faces an intense need for investment.

Our nation’s drinking water infrastructure received a “D” grade on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. Due to aging infrastructure, water utilities in the United States lose 16 percent of treated water on the way to customers. That’s more than 7 billion gallons of treated water lost each day.

To address these challenges, the forecasted needs are enormous – and growing:

  • The latest EPA Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment report to Congress showed $472.6 billion is needed to maintain and improve the nation’s drinking water infrastructure between 2015-2035. By comparison, in 2003, the estimate was over $50 billion less at $419.4 billion.
  • Taking this 20-year projected need and dividing it by the total number of water systems in the United States (roughly 53,000), this means that the average water system requires more than $8.9 million in infrastructure replacements and upgrades between 2015 and 2035.
One of the many benefits water companies bring to community water systems is access to capital for urgently needed investments in infrastructure. Municipal bond markets are not bottomless pits of capital for local governments; experts agree that access to private capital is necessary to address the current backlog of large-scale investments in community water and wastewater systems.

In 2018, according to annual reports and public filings, the 10 largest water companies in the United States invested more than $3 billion in community water systems. Notably, this total is greater than the total federal investment in water infrastructure in 2018 through the State Revolving Fund programs ($2.6 billion).

Furthermore, these substantial water company investments have strong returns in the form of higher water quality. Multiple studies confirm that water systems run by water companies have far fewer water quality violations than systems run by local governments. 

This strong record of investment and delivering higher quality water is another reality you won’t hear in the misleading activist spin on water companies.

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