Throughout the United States, communities are plagued by water and wastewater management systems that are outdated, damaged, and in serious need of repair or replacement. As a result, countless gallons (numbering in the billions) of untreated water and unsanitary sewage pour into rivers, lakes, and public water systems all over the country. Local governments often simply don’t’ have the necessary funds to make any sort of significant impact on the quality of their wastewater management systems—they lack both the financial power and sometimes the expertise to update their systems.
Annual investment gap is slowly falling, but total investment gap continues to grow at an alarming rate.
It has recently been reported that although the annual investment gap for infrastructure and funding in the realm of water and wastewater is anticipated to decrease, there is still an alarmingly fast-growing total investment gap that is only getting worse. The American Society of Civil Engineers reports that between now and 2025, the annual investment gap is expected to experience a decrease of roughly $800 million. This will bring the annual gap from its current standing at $11.3 billion to $10.5 billion (in current 2015 dollar value). Much of this decrease can be directly attributed to projects and initiatives funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the official title of the 2009 stimulus enacted by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama as a response to the Great Recession in order to save and create jobs.)
While a decrease in the annual investment gap is good news, the bigger picture is still deeply troubling. Analysts expect the total investment gap to balloon to $105 billion by 2025 and an astonishing $152 billion by 2040 if dramatic changes aren’t made and the problem isn’t properly addressed.
The importance of proper infrastructure for water cannot be overstated. More so than any other type of infrastructure, water is indispensable for life and health, used for drinking, sanitation, and cooking meals. People, businesses, and organizations simply cannot operate without access to consistent clean water. Wastewater infrastructure is critical to communities because it collects water that has already been used and reprocesses it to be reused by the people as clean water. Other investments keep pollutants and contaminants from getting into the water that we drink and use.
It is anticipated that the lack of funding that’s crippling water infrastructure will ultimately lead to half a million lost jobs by the year 2025 and 956,000 total jobs lost by 2040. This is in addition to the generally anticipated job loss forecast for this time period. Additionally, this failure to fund water and wastewater infrastructure will cost the US $3.2 trillion in gross domestic product by 2040.
Unless the shortfalls and issues with funding for water and wastewater infrastructure are addressed promptly, effectively and comprehensively, the nation’s water systems will come face to face with a nearly unprecedented level of crisis.
Infrastructure is the foundation upon which the U.S. functions. Good, sound infrastructure means a thriving economy. And a major component of that infrastructure involves the reliable delivery of adequate and clean water to homes and businesses.
But is our aging water infrastructure adequate and reliable?
The American Society of Civil Engineers released a report titled Failure to Act: The Impact of Infrastructure Investment on America’s Economic Futurewhich contained significant information about this very question. And the answer provided is not a cheerful one.
In sum, this report revealed a funding gap in the investment needed to bring our aging water infrastructure up to optimum standards. By 2040, the gap will grow to $257 billion.
Of the economic sectors evaluated by this report, water is the most vital to life and can’t be replaced for use in our homes, for irrigation, in hospitals, and industries. All these require clean water.
But our aging water infrastructure and the delivery of clean water is centralized and is overburdened. Every year more and more water lines are built to serve increasing populations, adding to the strain on aging systems.
Not only is the infrastructure used for delivery of clean water aging constantly, so is the system dealing with wastewater. Every year, an estimated 900 billion gallons of untreated waste water is discharged into the environment due to aging pipes and less than adequate capacity.
With the recent situation reported in Detroit regarding lead pipes and the consequent illnesses purportedly coming in that city because of them, calls for replacing lead water lines around the country have been sounded. The cost of such an effort would add $30 to $40 billion to the reported gap in funding.
What does our aging water infrastructure mean economically in the future? A loss of 500,000 jobs by 2025. And a total loss of 956,000 jobs by 2040, unless the shortfall in funding is resolved. The U.S. will absorb a loss of over $508 billion in Gross Domestic Production by 2025 due to this shortfall and will get hit with a total loss of $3.2 trillion in GDP by 2040.
This type of impact has the power to dramatically reduce the standard of living in the U.S. for years to come. And considering the cascade effect of deficits in this area on other areas of the economy, exceptionally serious consequences are to be expected.
Water reuse may be one of the best ways to assure future generations of Americans have enough water to live. Most people don’t fully grasp the water scarcity facing the U.S., and the world, today.
But to effectively incorporate water reuse technology into efforts to manage finite water resources, we must have accurate information about how much water we use. The U.S. Geological Survey collected data from each state for a 60-year period from 1950 to 2010 regarding how much water was used over that time.
This information has been published in an interactive model so that use of fresh water during that time period can be accessed. The interactive model can be found at https://owi.usgs.gov/vizlab/water-use/. This chart is the most comprehensive collection of water use data to date.
Two relevant facts were noted in this data. One is that the east and west halves of the country use water very differently. The eastern half of the United States utilizes a majority of their water supply for energy production while the western half of the U.S. uses it more for irrigation.
Another trend noted was a decrease in the amount of water used in industrial processes from about 1970 to 2010. Peak water usage for these processes came in the decade from 1970 to 1980. Then, the amount of water decreased from about 39,000 million gallons per day to about 17,000 million gallons per day in 2010. Improved technologies in water reuse leading to greater efficiency in industrial use fueled this trend.
Understanding how we use water and what changes have transpired will help to predict future use and point out needed improvement in technologies geared to water reuse. Having the kind of data we now have from the U.S. Geological Survey will increase our use of science-based knowledge those who manage water resources can use most effectively.
We must know how much water we use, for what purpose, from what source in order to plan for future needs. Water reuse is one effective way to assure adequate water resources will be available for our children and grandchildren. We must avail ourselves of the technology water treatment companies can use to provide safe water for all purposes and for all generations.
Reusing water won’t solve water scarcity by itself. But it is a vital part of appropriate water management. We do have advanced technologies available today that will allow us to forecast water needs and manage water resources more effectively. Having this data from the USGS will enable us to continue to develop these kinds of technologies.
The existence of pharmaceuticals in the environment and the water supply in small amounts (nanograms to low micrograms per gallon) has been widely discussed and published over the past decade. The increase in detection is primarily attributable to the advances in analytical techniques and instrumentation.
Though the chemical and drug companies denounce any danger from exposure to these low concentration drug residues in water, science and common sense says otherwise. Studies show drug residue cocktails do cause harm. A 2006 study conducted by University of Insubria in Italy simulated water that was drug-polluted by creating a low-level concoction of various drug residues and testing it on embryonic cells. The scientists discovered that, even at low doses, the drug residues stopped cells from reproducing. Although current water contamination levels are measured and researched in parts per million or parts per billion, there is not currently a way to understand just how much exposure citizens experience what those effects are. People regularly drink contaminated water, shower in contaminated water and cook with contaminated water; this suggests that the exposure to contaminants could be huge.
The tragic reality of water and its consumption not only here in the United States but in every part of the world is that we view it as a luxury rather than a necessity. Clean and viable drinking water is something that every part of the world should be entitled to.
Did you know that world leaders and global intelligence agencies predict that future global warfare will be launched over the access to water? It is a strange yet forthcoming result of how important water is now and will be in the future. Furthermore, with populations escalating and millions of gallons of water being withdrawn from the United States on a daily basis water, reuse is quickly becoming a major contender for public and private water works.
Market research provider Market Research Future has just released an in-depth report detailing information about the Global Packaged Water Treatment System Market (GPWTSM). Based on the information and data the GPWTSM is projected to experience a period of expansion over the next six years resulting in 11% growth above the compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Overall gross is anticipated to top $22 billion by the year 2022.
But what does this mean for businesses in this sector?
There is a broad range of factors resulting in this projected growth, not least of which is an increased overall interest in preserving and protecting the environment. As environmental impact and issues like global warming move to the forefront of public discourse, government bodies are beginning to set increasingly strict regulations for the disposal of wastewater in communities everywhere. As a result, the interest and demand for portable solutions that dramatically decrease the time involved in processing wastewater rise significantly. Solutions like these can be quickly brought to rural areas and towns with less cost and less intensive installation.
Population Growth & Water Scarcity
Another reason for this projected expansion is an overall growth in populations all over the world, communities in need of safe, clean and low-cost water treatments. As cities become more engorged with people and rural areas expand as well, these areas are in need of sustainable treatments for drinking water to ensure consistent service to their residents while keeping tabs on expenditures.
This time of year in America we gather with loved ones, share a meal and enjoy our time together. We often spend much of our day preparing for one of the largest and most glutinous meals of the year. We've all been there, too much food but so worth it. But with so much talk recently about how our water issues are on the rise it's a good idea to understand just how much water goes into all that you prepare for this festive day.
Chicken vs. Beef
Beef requires over three times the amount of water that is needed to produce chicken. A whopping 1,847 gal./lb is necessary to produce beef vs. 518 gallons of water per pound that is required for producing chicken. Chicken is the clear winner when it comes to conserving water while getting your protein fix.
Sweet Potatoes vs. Potatoes
Winner: Unprocessed potatoes
At 34 gal./lb unprocessed potatoes are the winner. Sweet potatoes are too far off with 46 gal./lb. So if you're trying to decide what side dish to make for your feast, traditional mashed potatoes are a good way to go.
Broccoli vs. Brussel Sprouts
Broccoli and brussel sprout both consume 34 gal./lb. Asparagus, on the other hand, use a tremendous amount of water to produce. Consuming 258 gallons of water per pound makes Asparagus one of the largest consumers of water in the vegetable family.
Wine vs. Beer
Beer requires 296 gallons of water to generate a gallon of beer while it takes 872 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of wine. Keep this in mind as you make your way through the holiday season.
Interested in learning more information about your daily water consumption through food production? Check out the Water Footprint Network to learn more about how much water is consumed to produce the food we love.
It's important to recognize that food production uses an enormous amount of water use globally. Food is vital to our existence on this planet, and therefore it's time to reexamine how to create more sustainable agriculture practices. One way food producers are looking to conserve water is through reuse technologies. There is a shift from just discharging treated water back into the environment to now treating it onsite. It can be more cost effective while helping to preserve community natural resources. Advanced technologies are now being utilized across the globe to help advance water sustainability practices. It's important to remember water is by far the most crucial component in sustaining life.
Interested in learning more about advanced water treatment and reuse technologies? Contact us today to find out how we can help you conserve our most precious resource.
On the very basic levels, smart water meters could provide information and analysis that can provide information that can change behaviors. Knowledge of usage could have profound implications for water conservation and sustainability which could have huge impacts on the severe drought zones across the US.
The four areas included in the IOT water sector include consumer, business, government, and infrastructure. When comparing these four areas, the category that could benefit greatest from IOT technology and might have the most profound impact in the shortest about of time is infrastructure. The massive amounts of water that our country's water utilities must clean daily and supply to our communities is staggering. At the infrastructure level, IOT can ensure water is being used efficiently which in turn can help cut costs due to over watering or alerting to undiscovered leaks in the system.
IOT technologies allow workers to understand and detect malfunctions in the system before it becomes a catastrophic event. Alerting operators in real time of issues within the system helps prevent further problems that can lead to high-cost fixes in the future. Some of the other ways treatment plants can monitor equipment are through water pressure levels, vibration levels as well as detecting leaks. While operators are capable of checking issues in the plants, many are so large that if something major were to happen to the system by the time the operator arrives they have to shut down the entire system which can lead to lost time, customer complaint as well as unneeded stress on the water system.
Agriculture is another area that could greatly benefit from advances in IOT technologies. Agriculture producers consume a massive amount of the U.S.'s water supply. With about 40 percent of the freshwater going directly to Agriculture, there are many opportunities to help conserve water within the water processes. Antiquated irrigation systems waste thousands of gallons annually. By utilizing IOT technologies in the fields, the potential for water saving which in turn also lead to cost saving is enormous.
City budgets are already stressed. Communities have more and more needs, and officials are always looking for ways to do more with less. Landscape irrigation is another area that is ripe for IOT technologies to take over. Many of our public parks, medians and other public spaces use an enormous amount of our water supply annually. According to, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nearly one-third of all of the public water use is wasted due to, evaporation, wind or runoff. Technologies are becoming more readily available to help curb our inefficiencies in watering and irrigation. These technologies will be key to the future of our water supply and water conservation efforts.
Adoption of new water technologies can be one of the most challenging hurdles to overcome. While many are looking for ways to conserve water, understanding what technology is available can be a daunting task.
Installing IOT technologies is a proactive approach to the future of water. There are other ways to help conserve water as well. Interested in water reuse technologies that can assist in preserving natural resources while cutting costs? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take the next step in cost-effective water reuse systems.
Pharmaceuticals in our water supply is a complex issue that remains the focus of sustained, continued study. With the use of pharmaceuticals growing worldwide, it’s no surprise that we’re finding more and more of them in the environment. Most of the world's wastewater is cleaned via wastewater treatment plants, but current technologies for treating waste and drinking water are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals. In a 2011 report, WHO estimated that conventional water treatment plants might remove anywhere from less than 20 to more than 90 percent of the pharmaceuticals compounds present. So there is a huge potential for pharmaceutical drug residues to be present in treated municipal wastewater.