Infrastructure is the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. Simply put, it’s the resources required to complete a project or activity. But what does that look like in the water industry, and why does it matter?
Why It Matters
Every morning you wake up, you turn on your faucet to brush your teeth, flush a toilet, and take a shower or bath. It can almost seem like magic when you turn something on, and there’s instant water. Your water goes on a journey miles long to reach your home. It comes from a lake or aquifer, gets treated and stored, and travels down many pipelines to get to you. With this, after years and years of usage, pipes and treatment facilities can wear down over time.
Approximately 2.1 trillion gallons of expensive and treated water have been leaked out due to old pipelines each year.
The amount of money wasted is almost equal to, if not more, the cost to fix this problem. For those who live within water systems run by their city, steady funding for many improvements comes from their tax dollars, but privately-owned water systems don’t get this benefit.
The majority of water infrastructure in our service areas were constructed over 30 years ago.
The lifespan of materials used during that time have now aged and are in dire need of repair or replacement. Much of the infrastructure was designed and built when urban areas were much smaller and more compact. Due to growth in most areas, local sources cannot meet current requirements. In some of our service areas, water is shared across city boundaries, further complicating the entire process. By upgrading and maintaining our infrastructure, we can help prevent future damages that cause outages.