NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

EPA Says More Spending Needed on Nation's Water Systems

April 10, 2002

Annual spending to maintain and expand water and sewage systems is lagging tens of billions of dollars behind what is needed to keep up with population growth and tightening health and pollution standards, claims a draft report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here are some highlights:

  • By 2019, the accumulated gap between actual and necessary investments in these underpinnings of urban America is likely to exceed $650 billion.
  • The trend threatens to hinder urban economies -- as well as harm coastal waters and public health.
  • The agency predicts more frequent water and sewage pipeline leaks and breaks, higher maintenance costs and a rise in coastal sewage pollution to levels not seen since the early 1970s.
  • Because of leaks, water shortages during droughts like the one that has settled along the East Coast will only get worse, other experts warn.

Source: Andrew D. Revkin, "Federal Study Calls Spending on Water Systems Perilously Inadequate," New York Times, April 10, 2002.  


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