WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, yesterday participated in the unveiling of a new report on how the major investments planned by public water utilities will contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and strengthen employment markets regionally and nationwide. Spearheaded by Water Works!, a joint research initiative led by the Water Environment Research Foundation and the Water Research Foundation, the report studied 30 utilities that provide water, wastewater and storm water service to 83 million people nationwide.
“Investments in water infrastructure protect public health, conserve natural resources and save energy,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. “They also create jobs, spurring local economies and providing a foundation for economic growth in every community across this nation.”
The combined capital and operating expenditures of the 30 utilities included in the study will average $23 billion per year over the next decade. As this direct spending on operations and maintenance is released into the larger economy, it is re-spent by workers and suppliers, generating additional positive economic output. From 2014 to 2023, the operating and capital expenditures of the participating utilities will generate $52 billion per year in total annual economic output across the country. This results in a national economic contribution of $524 billion in the next decade, supporting approximately 289,000 permanent jobs.
“Providing critical updates to our water infrastructure needs to be a bipartisan issue,” Senator Cardin noted. “We need to speak together for growth and economic prosperity. Water infrastructure is more than a public safety issue, it’s an energy efficiency issue and an economic issue.
“In my home city of Baltimore, more than 95 percent of the water mains are more than 65 years old, so it is no surprise that nationwide, there are more than 800 water main breaks each day,” Senator Cardin continued. “I applaud Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and mayors across the country who are committed to ensuring that our water infrastructure meets the needs of citizens. These statistic is emblematic of the larger issue of our nation’s aging and overburdened water infrastructure that we must work to transform.”