Infrastructure Week is going on right now (May 14-21) across the country, and this year's message is: The future won't wait. Neither can we. It's #TimeToBuild.
This week's focus in on infrastructure of all forms - roads, bridges, rail, airports, and, of course, our water and sewer systems.
Those systems are in dire need of repair. According to AWWA’s Buried No Longer report, it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 20 years to repair and replace water systems; wastewater systems costs are thought to be similar.
Those working in water are concerned about our water infrastructure too. In AWWA's most recent State of the Water Industry Report, renewing our aging water and wastewater infrastructure is a top concern of water utility workers in North America.
There are signs of improvement for our nation's infrastructure, and that is through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), a program administered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). WIFIA works to lower the cost of large water infrastructure projects by providing low-interest, long-term federal loans to communities.
The WIFIA program just closed on its first loan, a $135.4 million loan to King County, Wash. to help finance its Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station. Eleven more WIFIA loan applications are expected to close this year. EPA also recently issued a notice of funding availability for the second round of loans under the program.
The following, from the Buried No Longer report, is important to keep in mind: “As a nation, we need to bring the conversation about water infrastructure above ground. Deferring needed investments today will only result in greater expenses tomorrow and pass on a greater burden to our children and grandchildren. It’s time to confront America’s water infrastructure challenge.”
Learn more at our Water Infrastructure webpage.