Annual investment gap is slowly falling, but total investment gap continues to grow at an alarming rate.
It has recently been reported that although the annual investment gap for infrastructure and funding in the realm of water and wastewater is anticipated to decrease, there is still an alarmingly fast-growing total investment gap that is only getting worse. The American Society of Civil Engineers reports that between now and 2025, the annual investment gap is expected to experience a decrease of roughly $800 million. This will bring the annual gap from its current standing at $11.3 billion to $10.5 billion (in current 2015 dollar value). Much of this decrease can be directly attributed to projects and initiatives funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the official title of the 2009 stimulus enacted by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama as a response to the Great Recession in order to save and create jobs.)
While a decrease in the annual investment gap is good news, the bigger picture is still deeply troubling. Analysts expect the total investment gap to balloon to $105 billion by 2025 and an astonishing $152 billion by 2040 if dramatic changes aren’t made and the problem isn’t properly addressed.
The importance of proper infrastructure for water cannot be overstated. More so than any other type of infrastructure, water is indispensable for life and health, used for drinking, sanitation, and cooking meals. People, businesses, and organizations simply cannot operate without access to consistent clean water. Wastewater infrastructure is critical to communities because it collects water that has already been used and reprocesses it to be reused by the people as clean water. Other investments keep pollutants and contaminants from getting into the water that we drink and use.
It is anticipated that the lack of funding that’s crippling water infrastructure will ultimately lead to half a million lost jobs by the year 2025 and 956,000 total jobs lost by 2040. This is in addition to the generally anticipated job loss forecast for this time period. Additionally, this failure to fund water and wastewater infrastructure will cost the US $3.2 trillion in gross domestic product by 2040.
Unless the shortfalls and issues with funding for water and wastewater infrastructure are addressed promptly, effectively and comprehensively, the nation’s water systems will come face to face with a nearly unprecedented level of crisis.
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