About $9.4 billion more per year is needed for water and sewer work between now and 2020, according to a study released last month by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Without that, many Americans should prepare for regular disruption of water service and a jump in contamination caused by sewage bacteria, the study said.
The price of water, always far below commodities like electricity and gasoline, can be expected to rise dramatically as the demand taxes the systems that deliver it, analysts agree.
Nationwide, an estimated 1.7 trillion gallons of water leaks from pipes each year before it can be put to use. About 900 billion gallons of raw sewage flows into waterways.
Those leaks and untreated flushes aren’t just a problem in creaking Eastern cities that date to colonial times. Oklahoma, which didn’t become a state until the 20th century, has estimated it needs to invest $82 billion in water and sewer infrastructure over the next 50 years.