To get more realistic data on the scope of the US water infrastructure investment needs, in 2011 AWWA commissioned an important new study that produced the ground-breaking report, "Buried No Longer: Confronting America's Water Infrastructure Challenge" (PDF, 2.3MB). It methodically analyzes a variety of data and finds that the nation must invest $1 trillion over the coming 25 years if we are to maintain our current level of drinking water service. Other key findings include:
- Household water bills will go up.The size of the increase varies with community and is influenced by existing local rate structures, methods of finance, etc.
- There are important regional differences because of the different patterns of population growth and infrastructure investment over the history of the United States.
- Important differences exist based on system size. Small communities in particular may find steeper challenges ahead.
- Postponing water infrastructure investment only makes the problem worse when the bill inevitably comes due.