Study after study has shown that investment in water and wastewater infrastructure supports the economy and leads to creation of jobs. The United States, in fact, has a long history of investment in infrastructure—roads, bridges, railroads, etc.—in an effort to buoy the economy and create both temporary and permanent jobs that employ thousands of people.
Investing in water and wastewater infrastructure investment is particularly important for the U.S. economy. Not only because doing so will create jobs, but because not doing so can actually negatively impact the economy. An investment of $188.4 billion over the next five years would generate $265.6 billion in economic activity and create nearly 1.9 million jobs. According to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, if the United States does not invest in upgrades, repairs, and replacements of its aging water and wastewater infrastructure, U.S. businesses and households will be hit with an added cost of $206 billion in the next decade. This increased cost will be due to unreliable water delivery and wastewater treatment from systems that are in disrepair. In addition, without this investment the economy will lose 700,000 jobs by 2020.
If we allow the gap between needs and investment to grow, we not only miss an opportunity to address unemployment but also create a threat to existing jobs and businesses.
With millions of Americans out of work, there has never been a more critical time to reinvest in our essential water infrastructure. NACWA, the Water Environment Federation (WEF), American Water Works Association (AWWA), and others are working together to ensure that water investment must be a national priority with the Water Puts America to Work campaign. This effort is seeking to deliver a clear message to our elected officials and political candidates that investment in water infrastructure is an investment in America that creates jobs and spurs economic growth.
Visit the Water for Jobs website for more information on how you can become a supporter of this effort and to get more involved.