Happy New Year?
Not for the water industry.
The same issues persist.
Population growth. Whilst, like many countries, US population growth has fallen to the lowest rate on record, population movement within the USA means that some states have population increases of >10% over the past 5 years.
Aging infrastructure. The oldest urban centres of population have the oldest infrastructure. Some of that is more than 100 years. And the result is regular main breaks like in the South suburban area of Chicago.
Aging workforce. In a drought of another kind, the water industry faces a loss of knowledge and experience as baby boomers retire. The industry has a disproportionately older workforce and relatively unstructured training meaning that knowledge resides mostly in people’s heads. When people retire, that knowledge walks out of the door.
Lack of money. In Dixmoor, IL, Mayor Fitzgerald Roberts told CBS that repairs to water mains would cost about $39 million. He added that federal funding would be needed. Dixmoor has a population of just 2,906 people. That’s $13,400 each to fix the pipes.
Water conservation requirements become ever greater. Mandatory measures are just round the corner for Southern California. At some point, there’s going to be pushback, and the focus will shift.
What is the water company doing to find and fix leaks? What is the water company doing to avoid bursts, identify them, diagnose them, and fix them more quickly? What opportunity is there to repair rather than replace?
Happy New Year.