US Water Infrastructure Going Down the Tubes
Billions needed to keep water flowing
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2012 3:31 AM CST
Updated Jan 3, 2012 6:54 AM CST
In many parts of the US, water pipes and sewers are well over a century old and should have been replaced long ago.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Water and sewer systems, among the most basic things needed to keep civilized society going, are in danger of falling apart across America. Around a quarter of drinking water already leaks from pipes before it reaches the faucet, and without urgent repairs to the vast majority of water systems—many of which should have been replaced decades ago—experts warn that water bills will skyrocket, water services in many regions will be routinely disrupted, and contamination caused by sewage bacteria will soar.

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that another $9.4 billion needs to be spent every year between now and 2020, but with sewage systems out of sight, it is likely to be hard to sell the public on the need for higher taxes and fees to pay for repairs. "To me it’s the unseen catastrophe," the general manager of the DC Water and Sewer Authority tells the Washington Post. "My humble view is that the industry we’re in is the bedrock of civilization because it’s not just an infrastructure that is a convenience, that allows you to get to work faster or slower. At least with bridges or a road, people have some idea of what it is because they drive on them and see them."

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Showing 3 of 37 comments
GraviD
Jan 5, 2012 12:04 AM CST
Sounds like a lot of work that could provide a lot of people with jobs.
trailmix
Jan 3, 2012 2:23 PM CST
9.4 Billion a year for 8 years. That's chump change compared to the money we spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. And when you consider that a large portion of that money will come back through income and sales tax. this is a deal........... Pass the bill already...............I know I know, we have to wait for congress,...........they can't do anything until after the election. :-(
Just_Dave
Jan 3, 2012 1:15 PM CST
The 700 Billion we gave Wall Street would have pretty much solved this issue, it's a matter of priorities. The mention of higher taxes to fix this made me laugh.