March 2012: Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure Report

Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure Report

The nation’s water infrastructure is at a critical juncture, according to the recently released Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure report. Before you skip right on past that dry, curiosity-quencher of a title, be assured, the information inside is as compelling as the title is off-putting.

We lose over six billion gallons of expensive, treated water each day because of leaky, aging pipes. This represents 14 percent of the nation’s daily water use. This endemic water waste is underscored by the fact the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation’s water systems a D-, the lowest grade of any infrastructure including roads and bridges.

In order to achieve more sustainable, resilient and cost-effective freshwater systems, the report recommends bold new approaches for financing and operating public water systems, including:

• Local water solutions that can improve efficiencies, including green infrastructure, closed-loop systems and water recycling;

• Flexible water pricing and revenue structures that distinguish between drinking water and various other types of water, such as lawn water and toilet water;

• System-wide, full-cost accounting of water services and financing mechanisms; and

• Less reliance on state and federal funding and more reliance on private, market-based financing mechanisms that can support local, customer-supported solutions.

For an easy-to-understand overview of the report, check out David Mark’s press release at the American Rivers site.

How does the report relate to HOG and to you?
HOG tanks provide a modular rainwater storage system with future flexibility in mind.

The report recommends using water, in its different stages of treatment, for appropriate purposes. Save potable water for drinking. And collect water from the source! Harvested rainwater, stored in a HOG tank, can be used to water the garden, the lawn, and to flush the toilet.

An added bonus: reduced dependence on an energy-inefficient, centralized water system.

Recommended Reading: Cadillac Desert

A dose of narrative makes the facts go down smoothly. Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert offers the (riveting!) story you won’t find in the report. His 1986 book exposed the cutthroat politics and environmental implications of water consumption in the arid west.

25 years later, a group of scientists revisited Reisner’s predictions of water scarcity in the southwest, and confirmed the legitimacy and foresight of his research. Read about it in On Earth Magazine.

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