Giving Compass' Take:
- Chris Teale reports that crumbling drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems will be further taxed by unpredictable and extreme weather events.
- How can the U.S. and other countries prepare for more extreme weather? How can funders support investment in climate-resilient infrastructure?
- Read about climate change and equity in the United States.
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Water experts have been sounding the alarm for some time about the potential impacts of climate change and a need to invest in their infrastructure. Those warnings have been coupled with a pandemic in which utilities experienced dire economic consequences and scrambled to maintain consistent service to support regular hand-washing and good public health practices.
In fact, a report prepared last year for the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies estimated that water utilities nationwide will see revenues from customer payments drop by nearly $14 billion over the course of a year, with economic activity cut by $32.7 billion and up to 90,000 private-sector jobs lost.
Independent experts have also raised concerns about the state of America's water infrastructure. In its 2021 report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the country's stormwater infrastructure received a D grade, drinking water earned a C- and wastewater received a D+. Meanwhile, the threat of increased climate-related events looms over a critical piece of America’s infrastructure.
"Increasing variability around climate weather conditions, our own aging infrastructure and its vulnerability are all combining to mean that utilities are having to operate in a world of increasingly greater uncertainty and have to translate that uncertainty into perfectly reliable service," said Al Cho, chief strategy and digital officer at water technology firm Xylem.
Read the full article about water infrastructure by Chris Teale at Smart Cities Dive.