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Thousands of miles of our nation's underground water and sewer lines are reaching the end of their functional lifespan and are in need of replacement
As Drinking Water Week, May 4 to 10, continues, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) joins communities across North America in recognizing the value of critical water infrastructure and the growing need to repair and replace aging pipes.
Much of our nation’s drinking water infrastructure was constructed between 80 and 100 years ago. As a result, thousands of miles of underground water and sewer lines are reaching the end of their functional lifespan and are in need of replacement. An AWWA study found the cost of replacing and repairing aging pipes will top $250 billion over the next 20 years.
"North America's infrastructure has reached a turning point, and while the cost of repairing and replacing the aging pipes is immense, the cost of inaction could be immeasurable," said Gary Zimmerman, AWWA executive director. "Drinking Water Week is the perfect time to bring the issue of buried water infrastructure above ground and remember the value of the water it delivers."
In addition to the effects of an aging system, there are new demands placed on infrastructure as population areas grow and expand into arid climates, new regulations to improve public health are implemented and the post-9/11 era dictates a greater level of protection for our water facilities and distribution networks.
"We are all stewards of the magnificent drinking water system built largely by past generations and passed on to us," Zimmerman said. "And it is now our responsibility to ensure a safe and reliable water supply for future generations to enjoy."