Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Lisican showcases a handful of features to read in the April 2017 issue of Water & Wastes Digest.
Water For Jobs campaign encourages funding of water treatment infrastructure to create jobs
During the recent political conventions, both parties adopted platform language recognizing the positive impact of clean and safe water on job creation, economic growth and health. While the candidates have touched on infrastructure investment as a way to generate jobs, water infrastructure has been largely missing from the conversation.
American Water is joining with the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and others in the industry on the Water For Jobs campaign. This widespread outreach effort sends a clear message to elected officials and political candidates that investment in improving the nation’s deteriorating water infrastructure is also an investment in America, and should be a priority issue in the November elections.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified a total water and wastewater infrastructure capital investment need of $1 trillion over the next 20 years. At current funding levels, there will be a capital funding gap of at least $224 billion nationwide unless investment increases.
As the gap between needs and investment grows, the impacts on jobs, lost business sales and GDP worsens, according to a recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) on current investment trends in water and wastewater treatment infrastructure. The report states that failure to fund critical improvements will result in unreliable water delivery and wastewater treatment services, potentially leading to a $206 billion burden on businesses and households between now and 2020. What’s more, unless the infrastructure deficit is addressed by 2040, 1.4 million jobs could be at risk. Conversely, a study by the Economic and Policy Institute, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, suggested that expenditures on water infrastructure alone could lead to the creation of more than a million jobs over the course of the next five years.
“Investing in water infrastructure creates good paying jobs to repair, replace and upgrade our aging water systems that will ensure safe and reliable water. Such action will in turn attract and retain industry, business and qualified workers, which are essential to any thriving community. And, it promotes innovative technologies which can help keep America competitive,” said Jeff Sterba, president and CEO of American Water.
Americans overwhelmingly agree that water infrastructure investment is critical to protecting public health and promoting quality of life, with 95% of voters ranking clean water as the most important service government provides, according to a recent survey.
“This is an opportune time to come together as advocates for a bipartisan cause—the desperate need to invest in the nation’s crumbling water infrastructure is a viable way to stimulate the economy and address the challenges threatening one of our most precious resources,” said Sterba.