Water Infrastructure
lab equipment
According to the U.S. Geological Survey's 2010 Water Census daily per capita water use in the U.S. is 88 gallons for domestic use. This includes both indoor and outdoor use. Whether it is for simple things like watering the lawn, doing the dishes or taking a shower, we would be hard pressed if our water infrastructure was not able to deliver our most valuable natural resource. Click on the links below to learn more about our water infrastructure.
The North American drinking water infrastructure network spans an estimated 1 million miles, more than four times longer than the National Highway System, and that doesn't even take wastewater pipes into account. Much of the water infrastructure in the United States will need to be replaced in the next three decades. A large portion of water pipes was installed during three periods, and they will all need to be replaced in the next 25 years. Consider the following
  • The oldest cast iron pipes laid in the late 1800s usually last 120 years;
  • Pipes laid in 1920s must be replaced after 100 years;
  • Pipes from the post-World War II boom wear out after 75 years.
According to a 2012 report done by the American Water Works Association, the cost estimate to replace the old pipes is approximately $1 trillion over the next 25 years. The longer our water infrastructure is out of sight and out of mind, the closer we are to a serious national situation that will require immediate and dramatic funding. The cost of water infrastructure replacement far exceeds the financial capabilities of local water utilities and requires a strong commitment from not only utilities but rate-payers and government as well.
Regardless of when drinking water pipes are replaced, water is going to cost more in the future. And it’s an investment worth making!

Since most of our infrastructure was laid before many of us were born, current generations have not had to pay huge amounts for infrastructure investment. But that will change in the next three decades. Water rates will rise to pay for:
  • Replacing current water infrastructure
  • New water infrastructure to support increasing populations
  • New water treatment technologies for increased water quality
For additional information about the cost of water visit Water Bills page.