Friday, July 19, 2013

Where your water dollars go

Governments fret there's not enough money out there to replace or repair aging water mains. But a story on NPR this week made my ears perk up. It featured Greg DiLoreto, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

So, why don't municipalities prioritize water system upgrades?
Well, it's a combination of a variety of things. First off, as I mentioned, we're not adequately funding or investing in our water system. So the first dollar that every utility gets goes towards water quality and meeting the EPA regulations, because you want to know that you can drink water anywhere in this country, whether it's Anchorage, Alaska or Key West, Florida, and it's safe to drink. So every utility complies with the safe drinking water regulations. 
What that means is that what we have left over is what we use for water pipe replacement and repairs and maintenance. And that's where we're coming up short.
I question how much of today's EPA mandates over water quality are really necessary, and how much are overkill. And how many costly and unnecessary hurdles does the EPA put on water systems when they target expansion, improvement or replacement to keep up with existing or growing demand?

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