Florida needs $16.5 billion for drinking water infrastructure
With a burgeoning population and aging water systems, Florida will need $16.5 billion in funding over the next 20 years just to maintain its existing drinking water infrastructure, according to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In most places across the country, the promise of clean, cheap, readily available water has been taken for granted, but that has begun to change. Farm runoff has polluted municipal water sources, and the aging underground networks of pipes that carry water to homes and businesses rupture all too frequently. Just as with crumbling bridges or congested highways, the solutions don't come cheap.
Replacing pipes, treatment plants and other infrastructure as well as expanding drinking water systems to handle population growth could cost as much as $1 trillion nationwide over the next quarter century. Without that investment, industry groups warn of a future with more infrastructure failures that will disrupt service, transportation and commerce.
Despite the need, the largest federal aid program for improving the nation's drinking water system has more than $1 billion sitting unspent in government accounts. That is largely because of poor management by some states and structural problems.