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Water Everywhere, but Not a Drop to Drink in 2030?
Katie Weeks / ECOBUILDING Pulse / June 6, 2013
With many water systems across the U.S. now more than 50 years old and some up to 100 years old, the nation’s drinking water infrastructure is in need of significant improvements to remain functioning through 2030, according to a new survey from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment shows that $384 billion in improvements are needed across 73,400 water systems by 2030 in order for the systems to continue providing safe drinking water to the U.S.
The survey identifies investments needed over the next 20 years for pipes and treatment plants, storage tanks, and water-distribution systems across the country. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires the survey to be submitted to Congress every four years and to consult all 50 states and the Navajo Nation. The EPA then allocates Drinking Water State Revolving Fund grants to states based on the survey’s findings. The 2013 assessment shows that improvements are primarily needed in:
- Distribution and transmission: $247.5 billion to replace or refurbish aging or deteriorating lines
- Treatment: $72.5 billion to construct, expand, or rehabilitate infrastructure to reduce contamination
- Storage: $39.5 billion to construct, rehabilitate, or cover finished water storage reservoirs
Source: $20.5 billion to construct or rehabilitate intake structures, wells, and spring collectors.
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