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Water Infrastructure

Water Infrastructure




Current Grade

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Funding needed to raise to a "B" Grade



ASCE does not break out amount needed for water.  It is included with the total amount along with wastewater and stormwater.

Water Infrastructure

The systems that convey water to our homes and businesses make up a fundamental category of infrastructure. In 2021, ASCE gave the nation’s water infrastructure a C-, up from the D it got in 2017. ASCE did not provide an estimate of how much new funding would be needed to improve the condition of our water infrastructure to a B separate from its estimate of $43.4 billion needed for drinking water along with wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

The infrastructure that brings water to American homes and businesses gets among the highest proposed increases in federal funding in all four infrastructure plans. The American Jobs Plan has the largest proposal with $11.1 billion per year in new water infrastructure spending, a 370% increase. The Republican plan calls for $6 billion, a 200% increase in federal baseline spending. The CSC framework that President Biden now supports proposes $11 billion, a 368% increase. The PSC plan proposes $4.5 billion, a 150% increase.

The Case for a Big Investment

Democratic and Republican proponents of a major increase in spending on our water infrastructure particularly emphasize the need to eliminate lead pipes. Given the known significant health risks, there is wide agreement that the number of homes and businesses that get their water through lead pipes remains alarmingly and unacceptably high. Proponents also argue that the number of water main breaks is too high and getting higher.

The Case for a Smaller Investment

Those who argue for a more modest investment in our water infrastructure point out that it is already improving without more investment, increasing from a D in 2017 to a C- in 2021.

The Evidence

The EPA reports an estimated six to ten million homes still receive drinking water through lead pipes and service lines. The ASCE cites a report that there were an estimated 250,000 – 300,000 water main breaks in 2018, a 27% increase from 2012.