New Study Confirms U.S. Water Infrastructure Investment Has Direct Economic Benefit and Creates Jobs

The Value of Water Campaign released an economic impact analysis it commissioned to understand how investments in the nation's water infrastructure affects economic growth and employment.

"The report findings make it clear that investments in water infrastructure generate high quality jobs, increase the competitiveness of American businesses,” said Radhika Fox, director of the Value of Water Campaign and CEO of the US Water Alliance, “and lead to a significant injection of economic activity throughout the nation.”

"The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure" was shared for the first time on World Water Day, March 22, at a briefing on Capitol Hill.

The analysis falls against a national backdrop of aging infrastructure. Many of the nation's water and wastewater systems have operated for a century or more. As pipe, pumps, and plants reach the end of their expected lifespans, water infrastructure capital needs are growing rapidly.

But, as the report noted, the federal government's contribution to water infrastructure capital spending has fallen from 63 percent of total capital spending in 1977 to just 9 percent of total capital spending in 2014.

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently estimated that over the next decade, the U.S. needs to invest an additional $82 billion per year in water infrastructure at all levels of government, and all over the country. The Value of Water Campaign analysis showed capital needs distributed throughout the nation with 23 percent of needs reported in the Midwest, 20 percent in the Northeast, 23 percent in the West, and 34 percent in the South.

Key takeaways of the report:

  • Closing the water infrastructure investment gap would result in annual $220 billion in economic activity and result in 1.3 million jobs annually.
  • A one-day disruption in water service would cost $43.5 billion in sales and $22.5 billion in GDP.
  • An eight-day disruption would shrink the annual GDP by 1 percent.
  • For every day of water service disruption, the average US business loses $230 in sales per employee. In industries most reliant on water, sales drop by up to 75 percent, or up to $5,800 per employee.

 

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