Investing in Water Infrastructure Generates $220 Billion in Economic Activity

The report, “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure,” provides information on the jobs and revenue created by reliable clean water services. Photo courtesy of the Value of Water Campaign.

The report, “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure,” provides information on the jobs and revenue created by reliable clean water services. Photo courtesy of the Value of Water Campaign.

Investing in water infrastructure would create numerous jobs and gains for the economy, according to a new report. The Value of Water Campaign commissioned the report, “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure,” to better understand how investments in the nation’s water infrastructure affect economic growth and employment.

Maintaining reliable clean water services in the U.S. will require an additional $82 billion investment in water infrastructure each year during the next decade. But closing this investment gap would create 1.3 million jobs and generate $220 billion in total annual economic activity, the report says.

“Inadequate investment in our water infrastructure as well as reductions in funding for watershed protections and water-related research pose a real threat to our water resources and our quality of life,” said Eileen O’Neill, executive director of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.). WEF is a founding partner of the Value of Water Campaign, which works to educate, inspire, and build support for water infrastructure and to advance solutions to water challenges.

The report also found that disruption in water services has costly repercussions. A single-day disruption at the national level can cause the loss of $43.5 billion in sales and $22.5 billion in gross domestic product. And at the local level, industries most reliant on water could see a 75% drop in sales as a result of a single-day disruption in service.  Despite the need, the report finds that the federal government’s contribution to water infrastructure continues to decrease.

“The report findings make it clear that investments in water infrastructure generate high quality jobs, increase the competitiveness of American businesses, and lead to a significant injection of economic activity throughout the nation,” said Radhika Fox, executive director of the Value of Water Campaign.

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