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Report: More Investment Needed in Water Infrastructure

Kentucky has thousands of miles of streams, but what about its water infrastructure? A new report finds billions of dollars of investment are needed in the nation's water infrastructure. (Greg Stotelmyer)
Kentucky has thousands of miles of streams, but what about its water infrastructure? A new report finds billions of dollars of investment are needed in the nation's water infrastructure. (Greg Stotelmyer)
March 27, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A new report from the Value of Water Campaign outlines the major economic impact investments in the nation's water infrastructure could have.

Many of the country's water and wastewater treatment equipment and systems have been in place for more than a century, and the report shows Kentucky is in the region with the greatest needs. Radhika Fox, director of the Value of Water Campaign, said investments are meeting only a third of the nation's needs.

"Closing that infrastructure gap would create over 1.3 million jobs,” Fox said. "These are jobs here in this country."

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that over the next decade, the U.S. will need to invest an additional $82 billion a year in water infrastructure, with the greatest share of those capital needs - about 34 percent - in the South.

And, Fox said, there is a huge downside to not getting the work done.

"A one-day disruption in water service represents a daily loss of $43 billion in sales and economic output,” she said. "So, the benefits are great, but the cost of inaction is tremendous as well."

According to the report, only 9 percent of the nation's water projects are now funded with federal dollars - compared to 63 percent nearly four decades ago. Fox said her group is hopeful there will be support for investments in the Trump administration.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY