In a new report released Wednesday by the Value of Water Campaign, an economic impact analysis examines how investments in the nation’s water infrastructure affect economic growth and employment. The report, “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure” was shared for the first time as part of a World Water Day briefing on Capitol Hill.
Among the findings in the report, the analysis found that closing the investment gap in water infrastructure would create 1.3 million jobs, and stimulate $220 billion in economic activity. Contrary to addressing the funding gap, the report found that water infrastructure failure would mean big problems for businesses, as one day of water service disruption could cost 43.5 billion in lost sales and 22.5 billion lost in the GDP.
The analysis, conducted by Hatch, falls against a national backdrop of aging infrastructure. Many of the nation’s water and wastewater systems have operated for a century or more. As pipes, pumps, and plants reach the end of their expected lifespans, water infrastructure capital needs are growing rapidly. But, as the report noted, the federal government’s contribution to water infrastructure capital spending has fallen from 63 percent of total capital spending in 1977 to just nine percent of total capital spending in 2014.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently estimated that over the next decade, the US needs to invest an additional $82 billion per year in water infrastructure at all levels of government, and all over the country. The Value of Water Campaign analysis released today showed capital needs distributed throughout the nation with 23 percent of needs reported in the Midwest, 20 percent in the Northeast, 23 percent in the West, and 34 percent in the South.