EPA Survey Shows $384 Billion Needed for Drinking Water Infrastructure by 2030

EPA Survey Shows $384 Billion Needed for Drinking Water Infrastructure by 2030

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a survey showing that $384 billion in improvements are needed for the nation’s drinking water infrastructure through 2030 – with $44 billion of that needed in California – in order for the systems to continue to provide safe drinking water to Americans.

The survey, the EPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment, identifies the investments needed over the next 20 years for the nation’s thousands of miles of pipes as well as its treatment plants and water distribution systems.  The survey is mandated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and is used to allocate Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) monies.

The estimated infrastructure need reflects assessments conducted in 2011 and has changed slightly since the previous assessments in 2007 and 2003. In 2007, the survey estimated a $379.7 billion need and in 2003 it estimated a $375.9 need. However, the estimate has gone up dramatically since 1999 when the EPA estimated the nation needed $224.8 billion in water infrastructure improvements. The EPA believes part of the increase in the estimate is due to better methodology in capturing previously under-reported needs.

California’s $44.5 billion in estimated needs is broken down as follows: $26.7 billion for transmission and distribution, $2.5 billion for source improvements, $8.4 billion for treatment, $6 billion for storage and $325 million for various other improvements.

The results of the survey indicate that the nation’s medium-sized community water systems – those serving between 3,301 and 100,000 people) account for the greatest share of need at 43%, or $161.8 billion. Large and small systems are estimated to have needs of $145.1 billion and $64.5 billion respectively annually.

The full survey is available here.

EPA 2011 DWSRF Infrastructure Needs Assessment.pdf2.97 MB