WASHINGTON — An impressive nearly $1 trillion may soon flow into the U.S. economy, but the government’s generous plan economizes on outdated water infrastructure. Of the $885 billion, a mere fraction goes toward maintaining the nation’s waterways — both natural and created.
That may change as the stimulus package goes to the Senate. Lawmakers propose adding $7 billion to address backlogged water projects. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released a 2009 report card giving the nation’s water infrastructure a “D-“.
“America’s drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful life and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations,” the ASCE reports.
“This does not account for growth in the demand for drinking water over the next 20 years. Leaking pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water a day,” they explain. Whether an additional $7 billion added to Obama’s stimulus package can bandage the remaining billions of dollars worth of wounded infrastructure remains uncertain.