As pressures mount on utilities to address human-centric challenges around affordability and resilience, new strategies are needed to optimize limited resources.
U.S. water and wastewater infrastructure is deteriorating faster than utilities can rehabilitate or replace it. The estimated average age of U.S. water pipes is 45 years, and North America saw a 27% increase in water main breaks between 2012 and 2018.
However, the investment gap for infrastructure solutions is growing. Total public and private capital investment in U.S. water and wastewater infrastructure reached and estimated $36.6 billion in 2018, less than a third of the $119.0 billion in annual investment the American Society of Civil Engineers said would be necessary by 2018.
Customer affordability further complicate matters, as does a shrinking workforce. An estimated 10.6% of water sector workers will retire or transfer each year between 2016 and 2026, with some utilities expecting as much as half of their staff to retire in the next five to 10 years.
This paper, created in collaboration with Bluefield Research, explains the ways an advanced asset management framework can surpass traditional limitations and narrow U.S. utilities’ funding gap by $62.4 billion over the next decade. It details drivers and enablers of change, workforce impacts, and steps utilities can take to be fit-for-future and foster thriving communities.
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