According to a new study, the American water infrastructure is nearing the end of its lifecycle. Over the next 25 years, the water mains and other infrastructure will need to be replaced, at a cost of a trillion dollars.

The increased cost of construction will have to be passed along somehow, because the current economy and state of municipal finances would be challenged to absorb the massive costs. That means that ratepayers could face the brunt of the costs, and the American Water Works Association estimates that in some communities, rates could triple. The good news is that the increases could be staggered, allowing the rates to rise steadily instead of all at once.

The AWWA also extended the scope of the study through 2050, and the cost rose to $1.7 trillion.

From Water

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has warned that the cost of repairing and expanding U.S. drinking water infrastructure will top $1 trillion in the next 25 years, an expense that likely will be met primarily through higher water bills and local fees.

The AWWA examined the timing of water main installation and life expectancy, materials used, replacement costs and shifting demographics. It said nationally, the infrastructure needs are almost evenly divided between the needs to replace and expand infrastructure.

“Because pipe assets last a long time, water systems that were built in the latter part of the 19th Century and throughout much of the 20th Century have, for the most part, never experienced the need for pipe replacement on a large scale,” the report said. “The dawn of an era in which the assets will need to be replaced puts a growing stress on communities that will continue to increase for decades to come.”

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