From taking a shower and brushing your teeth to brewing a pot of coffee, millions of Americans use drinking water and wastewater infrastructure before their workday ever starts. However, many of us take water service for granted, as we usually don’t stop to think about the extensive infrastructure required to make sure water flows when you turn on the tap and safely returns to the environment. The reservoirs, pipelines and treatment plants that provide drinking water to our homes, and the sewers, pumps, and recovery centers that complete the cycle are some of our most important national assets.
While we enjoy high-quality, reliable water service now, maintaining that level of service will be difficult as America’s water infrastructure continues to deteriorate. Between 2012 and 2018, pipe breaks increased by 27%, and they are expected to increase by 600% in the next 20 years if we don’t increase investment in our systems. Not only do water service disruptions affect Americans at home, but outages are also costly to utilities, businesses and the economy in general.
By investing in water infrastructure, we can create cascading economic benefits. Even if we covered just half of our capital investment needs, the resulting projects and improvements would create over 700,000 jobs, raise wages by $2 trillion, and increase GDP by $3.5 trillion above baseline projections. Additionally, an investment in treatment technology will directly benefit homes and businesses by mitigating water supply uncertainty and protecting against emerging contaminants.
That’s why today, on October 21, 2020, we Imagine a Day Without Water, taking the time to pause and notice the way that water systems impact our lives and communities, and commit to creating a sustainable water future for generations to come. By investing in water infrastructure, we’re investing in a future where no American will have to imagine a day without life’s most sustaining resource.