Consumers should prepare to see their water bills balloon over the next 25 years as the country readies its decades-old water system for a much-needed $1 trillion makeover.The details are outlined in a new report from the American Water Works Association, which says the news should come as no surprise, given the fact that some underground water systems have been around for more than half a century.
The only difference it’s a lot harder for consumers to spot rickety water lines than, say, crumbling bridges or pothole-ridden highways. But it’s a crucial problem to address, as we rely on water systems for everything from fire protection to public health care.
“Delaying the investment can result in degrading water service, increasing water service disruptions, and increasing expenditures for emergency repairs,” the report says. “Ultimately we will have to face the need to “catch up” with past deferred investments, and the more we delay the harder the job will be when the day of reckoning comes.”
And there will be a hefty price to pay for it. Some areas of the country could see their bills double or triple each month, though not everyone’s burden will be equal.
The South and West will be hardest hit, according to the AWWA, as those regions account for more than half the needed upgrades in the country. That’s mostly due to how fast populations are expected to grow there and also because communities are often more spread out, leaving fewer people to split the bill, so to speak.