“Rejuvenating America’s Water Infrastructure” in the February 2017 issue of WaterWorld opens with a little known story of a Philadelphia mall besieged by flooding. The Bakers Centre sits atop 120-year-old water mains, which have broken three times in recent years.
Philadelphia isn’t the only city with this problem, unfortunately. Aging infrastructure is plaguing cities across North America. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates more than 240,000 water main breaks occur annually.
This article provides an overview of the current situation, and includes commentary from John Hanula, director of global business at MWH, now part of Stantec. John discusses the factors that play into the “repair or replace” decision, and the importance of stakeholder communication to help citizens understand the worth of the services.
“People are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for television and premium services, but if we want to raise the water bill by ten or twenty dollars a month, we get a line of protestors. That’s why there’s a real effort by utilities to communicate their stewardship and what it takes to bring clean water to homes and businesses,” John said.
This article suggests that the communication may be working, and that the time to act is now. It seems utilities agree, with capital spending estimated to increase by 28 percent over the previous 10-year-period. This article also references a water survey completed by MWH in 2016.
Read the full article in the latest edition of WaterWorld