Water is our most precious resource but with some systems dating back a hundred years or more in the United States, our water infrastructure is in dire need of repair. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey (DWINS, 7th edition, 2023), it will take $625 billion over the next 20 years to repair, rehabilitate or replace existing water infrastructure. That’s a 32% increase from the previous DWINS (6th edition, 2018).
Serious concern about the state of our water infrastructure is echoed in the 2023 State of the Water Industry (SOTWI) report compiled by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). Using data from a survey of over 4,000 water professionals, the annual report found that, once again, aging infrastructure emerged as the number one challenge facing the water industry — a spot it has held for more than a decade. It is closely followed by long-term supply and financing capital improvements, ranking second and third, respectively, in the 2023 report.
Limited municipal budgets are a continual struggle as communities attempt to tackle infrastructure improvements. An overwhelming number of SOTWI respondents identifying as financial or executive management personnel indicated their intention to raise water rates over the coming year (78%, compared to 72% in 2022). Despite unprecedented funding opportunities available under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, combined with State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, municipalities will need to be strategic about how they plan, fund, and execute capital improvement projects.
Asset management plays a pivotal role in the effective operation, maintenance and replacement of the complex systems and networks that comprise our water systems. With a detailed inventory of assets, including location, condition, history, and more, water systems can be more proactive (and less reactive) about infrastructure improvements. They can leverage insights from asset data to prioritize capital investments — and even predict where critical failures might occur — to optimize where they allocate limited dollars for the most beneficial impact to their communities.
A panel of industry experts, including Greg Land, Master Meter’s National Strategic Account Manager, will discuss this topic in more detail at the upcoming World-Water Tech North America conference in Los Angeles, October 25–26. Titled “Asset Management: Predictive Technologies for Detection, Prevention, and Repairs,” the panel will address several key points, including the biggest current challenges in asset management and technological innovations to address them; how to move from a reactive approach to a more predictive one; leak detection innovations that are proving most accurate in pinpointing trouble areas; potential hurdles in lead service line abatement; and the impact of trenchless technologies and remote sensing for reducing the financial burden for these massive projects. This panel discussion will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 2:00 p.m. (PT).
Master Meter is proud to be a Gold Partner of World Water-Tech North America, which strives to solve the most challenging issues facing water and wastewater in North America. To learn more about the conference, please visit worldwatertechnorthamerica.com.