Diminishing Water Supply and Aging Underground Infrastructure Will Impact State Economy
April 27, 2010 at 16:38 PM EDT
CHERRY HILL, N.J., April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Speaking at the Rutgers Quarterly Business Outlook panel last Tuesday, New Jersey American Water President John Bigelow said that in the Garden State, a diminishing natural water supply and aging infrastructure will impact business and the state for the foreseeable future.
According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the state uses one trillion gallons of water per day. That's enough to cover the entire state in 8 inches of water. "Despite the fact that we've just come out of the wettest winter in recent memory, New Jersey's water supply is slowly diminishing," Bigelow told the audience. "And the availability of water has a direct impact on a community's ability to grow." The decline has been caused, in part, by salt water intrusion into regional coastal plain aquifers, and increasing levels of contamination. As a result, NJDEP severely reduced the amount of water that could be pulled from wells, forcing water providers to turn to more complex and costly surface water systems. "We have proposed several conservation programs that if implemented would help reduce water consumption, and in many cases help reduce water bills. We call this concept Save Blue, Save Green," said Bigelow.
Another driver where water will impact the economic outlook is the state's aging 30,000 miles of water infrastructure (about 8,600 of which belong to New Jersey American Water), which according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency will take up to $10 billion over the next twenty years to replace. "Most of these assets are buried and have been out of sight and mind for many years. We are replacing pipes at a frequency rate that requires an asset life of 300 to 500 years. Unfortunately, pipes do not last that long and their original cost of $1/ft is now more than $100/ft to replace," said Bigelow. "Clearly, there is a need for the water industry to step up investing in the state's infrastructure, and that can be challenging in the current economic climate. As I mentioned earlier, without infrastructure investment, communities will not continue to attract businesses and maintain quality of life."
New Jersey American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.5 million people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 16 million people in 35 states, as well as Ontario and Manitoba, Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.
SOURCE New Jersey American Water