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A review of public water infrastructure financing in the United States

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Abstract The delivery of clean drinking water and the treatment of wastewater are critical public services, and in the United States, they are provided by a complex system of federal, state, and local governments. The process of water treatment and delivery requires significant investment in infrastructure both for initial capital requirements as well as the on‐going maintenance and operating costs. The quality of drinking water in the United States is, on average, relatively high, but according to the American Water Works Association, an estimated $1 trillion is necessary to maintain and expand service to meet demands over the next 25 years. The water infrastructure needs in the United States require both immediate attention and long‐term solutions, and the dollar cost is climbing rapidly. It remains unclear, however, where these funds will come from and how they will be allocated. The goal of this paper is to review the portfolio of financing options that exist for public entities responsible for the construction and maintenance of water infrastructure in the United States, including the municipal bond market, state revolving loan funds, federal grant and loan programs, public–private partnerships, and recent financing innovations. This article is categorized under: Engineering Water > Water, Health, and Sanitation Human Water > Value of Water Human Water > Water Governance
Spending on water supply and wastewater treatment facilities by level of government, 1956–2017. Source: Congressional Budget Office, using data from the Office of Management and Budget, the Census, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Data used for the Congressional Budget Office report “Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to 2017.” Note: Dollar amounts are adjusted to remove the effects of inflation using price indexes for government spending that measure the prices of materials and other inputs used to build, operate, and maintain transportation and water infrastructure (base year 2017)
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Human Water > Water Governance
Human Water > Value of Water
Engineering Water > Water, Health, and Sanitation

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