Drinkable water at risk due to failing US infrastructure

The Associated Press published a feature piece on Saturday that warns that drinkable water in this country could be at risk thanks to failing U.S. infrastructure.

“We’re reaching the end of the life cycle of some of the most critical assets we’ve got,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager of the Des Moines Water Works.

The utility which serves 500,000 in the central-Iowa area experiences hundreds of new cracks in their pipes every year and has to deal with water which is more polluted all the time.

At a cost of $150 million, replacement of the Des Moines Water Works with a newer plant might not be feasible in the near future.

The problem of access to fresh water is not only an Iowa problem however. Failing infrastructure across the United States is imperiling access to potable water.

“The future is getting a little dark for something as basic and fundamental as water,” said Adam Krantz of the Water Infrastructure Network, a lobbying group that is fighting cuts to key federal water programs.

If improvements are not made to America’s water infrastructure soon, by 2035, 20,000 miles of pipe will need to be replaced with an average cost of about $500,000 per mile.

Some regions are already feeling the cost.

In 2012, for the first time in two decades, New Orleans City Council passed a bill which raised water and sewage rates by 10 percent. The average bill will climb to $115 in just five years.

New Orleans claims it is not alone. Baltimore has had to raise its bill  by 40 percent to compensate for the cost of replacing its pipes, which is estimated at $40 million.

“The fact of the matter is, water rates are going to have to increase to reflect the cost of having this system that delivers it to every faucet in your house,” said Greg DiLoreto, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.


[The Associated Press via Yahoo News] [nola.com]