By David Choate, American Water

May 15, 2019

People are talking about infrastructure more frequently—certainly more often than just a single week out of the year. Peruse our Water Street archives, listen to our Wavelengths podcast series or visit one of our sites—there’s no escaping conversations on water infrastructure. This topic has also become a staple in economic and political news, classroom discussions, community planning and so on. Moreover, once initiatives such as Infrastructure Week got off the ground, the conversations started to be paired with action. Communities, governments, advocates and activists are not just talking but doing something to bring attention to the issue, garner support for critical funding and support communities in short- and long-term plans to repair and replace aging infrastructure. Again, all of this demonstrates that the initiatives are working.
In support of Infrastructure Week 2019, which runs from May 13 through 20 and is themed #BuildForTomorrow, American Water—a national affiliate of the Infrastructure Week coalition—will be spreading the message about the state of our nation’s infrastructure and the projects, technologies and policies necessary to make America competitive, prosperous and safe. To get things started, I remind all of you of some of the key facts demonstrating the critical need for—and the advantages of—an aggressive infrastructure strategy:
  • Many of our water infrastructure pipes were installed in the early 20th century and have exceeded their useful life. The signs of stress surface daily, service disruptions occur more frequently and damaged pipes are leading to water contamination.
  • The condition of our infrastructure is nothing short of alarming. In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded it a D+ and estimated it would require a needed maintenance and improvement investment of $1 trillion over the next 25 years.
  • It’s estimated that aging infrastructure—and slow-moving funding for it—costs the average American family $9 per day.
  • Every billion dollars in federal investment in infrastructure supports 13,000 American jobs.
  • Every $1 invested in infrastructure adds $3.70 to economic growth.
For these reasons and many others, American Water has committed to investing more than $8 billion in capital over the next five years to improve the reliability, resiliency, and efficiency of our infrastructure, We are replacing aged pipe at nearly twice the average annual rate of the overall water utility sector, hardening our assets to make them more resilient to increasing threats from climate variability, developing new solutions to address emerging contaminants in our water supplies, and replacing inefficient equipment and investing in technology to make our distribution systems smarter to  improve energy efficiency. Check out more information about Infrastructure Week, and visit to learn more about our company’s activities and ways in which you can participate.