The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of D+ in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, and for good reason. Our infrastructure is aging, deteriorating, and holding our communities back; we are relying on infrastructure built more than a century ago to meet the needs of a completely changed world.* Despite rising needs, the federal government’s contribution to water projects has fallen over the past 30 years, from 63 percent of the sector’s total capital spending in 1977 to 9 percent in 2014.**
A report by Deloitte, Water Tight 2.0: The top trends in the global water sector, notes that while there is a long road ahead, “… government and utilities [need to] think about water as a resource and how the industry plans, invests and manages infrastructure in the future.” Effective and resilient water infrastructure is critical to public and environmental health and to economic sectors worldwide. Unfortunately, investments in water utilities, which include supply systems for distributing drinking water as well as wastewater and sewage treatment systems, have not been keeping up with need. In cities around the globe, the drinking water distribution infrastructure is aging rapidly and encountering failures with increasing frequency. This is challenging under “normal” circumstances but becomes mission critical during a pandemic.
To help address this, forward-thinking municipalities are incorporating state-of-the-art digital technology to avoid unanticipated risks. These innovations can drive significant economic and environmental improvements and ensure continuity in service when staff are working remotely, as they are during this pandemic.