Denver — According to an economic impact analysis commissioned by the Value of Water Campaign (VOW), closing the water infrastructure gap in the U.S. would create 1.3 million jobs and spur total economic activity to $220 billion annually. The report, “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure” (http://thevalueofwater.org/resources) was shared for the first time on March 22, World Water Day, at a briefing on Capitol Hill. CH2M partners with VOW to increase awareness that investments in our nation’s water infrastructure can positively affect economic growth and employment.
“Water is essential to everything we do. Every household and business in every community depends on water and wastewater services. When we commit to the investments needed in our water infrastructure, we will all reap the benefits through improved infrastructure and more jobs,” said CH2M State and Local Governments Sector President Greg McIntyre.
Many of the nation’s water and wastewater systems have operated for a century or more. As pipes, pumps and plants reach the end of their expected lifespans, water infrastructure capital needs are growing rapidly.
“Because CH2M designs, builds and manages some of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects in the world, we are experiencing this growth firsthand. In fact, our demand for skilled employees has grown in all our key markets. In order to match our growth and the nation’s infrastructure needs, we are hiring hundreds of full-time engineering and program/project delivery positions,” added McIntyre.
But, as the report noted, even though the infrastructure needs are growing, the federal government’s contribution to water infrastructure capital spending has fallen from 63 percent of total capital spending in 1977 to nine percent of total capital spending in 2014.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently estimated that over the next decade, the US needs to invest an additional $82 billion per year in water infrastructure at all levels of government, and all over the country. The VOW Campaign analysis released today showed capital requirements distributed throughout the nation with 23 percent needed in the Midwest, 20 percent in the Northeast, 23 percent in the West and 34 percent in the South.
CH2M is working with clients to address capital needs and position for future growth through sustainable investment options, streamlining delivery, leveraging new tools and technologies, and developing creative funding packages. By setting a higher priority for the nation’s water infrastructure needs, and enabling better value-based project implementation methods, available funds can be leveraged to greatly accelerate infrastructure development.
The report’s findings make it clear that investments in water infrastructure generate high quality jobs, increase the competitiveness of American businesses, and leads to a significant injection of economic activity throughout the nation.
Key takeaways of the report, include:
- Closing the water infrastructure investment gap would result in $220 billion in economic activity and result in 1.3 million jobs.
- A one-day disruption in water service would cost $43.5 billion in sales and $22.5 billion in GDP.
- An eight-day disruption would shrink the annual GDP by 1 percent.
- The federal government’s contribution to water infrastructure has fallen to 9 percent, down from more than 60 percent 40 years ago.