EPA releases Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment
To continue to ensure safe drinking
water, the nation's water utilities will need to make an estimated $277
billion in investments over the next 20 years, according to EPA's third
Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment. This large
national need reflects the challenges confronting water utilities as
they deal with aging infrastructures that were constructed 50 to 100
years ago in many cases.
"Water infrastructure is a lifeline for community health and
prosperity," said Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for the
Office of Water. "As our communities grow, so too must the commitment
of the government and citizens to sustainable financing, innovative
management and technology, and efficient use of water."
Water utilities pay for infrastructure using revenue from rates charged
to customers and may finance large projects using loans or bonds. State
and federal funding programs, such as EPA's Drinking Water State
Revolving Fund program, are also available to help companies address
their water system infrastructure needs.
Results from the Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and
Assessment are used to develop a formula to distribute Drinking Water
State Revolving Fund grants. Since the program began in 1997, EPA has
made available nearly $8 billion in funding to states for infrastructure
projects to help utilities provide safe drinking water. States
supplement their EPA grants by matching funds and with bonds, repayments
and interest earnings.
The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to conduct the assessment every
four years. This report to Congress, which reflects data collected in
2003, documents anticipated costs for repairs and replacement of
transmission and distribution pipes, storage and treatment equipment,
and projects that are necessary to deliver safe supplies of drinking
The report and related materials are available at
This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.