The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released a report highlighting the need to invest in the US’ aging infrastructure at the coronavirus pandemic’s peak.
The adage, “out of sight out of mind,” has never been more accurate when it comes to a hidden network of aging pipes buried underground.
These old pipes tend to burst suddenly without warning, causing many problems to the community already struggling to come out from the pandemic.
According to the ASCE report, there is no better time to invest in the US infrastructure than right now when workers have lost their jobs, businesses are closing, and the GDP is plummeting.
Water is indispensable to life, and every industry relies on water infrastructure from healthcare to manufacturing sectors to function. Any disruptions to its services would significantly impact everyone.
When business and social activities halted or reduced due to the pandemic lockdowns, water utilities were also affected.
Reduction in water consumption due to the pandemic health restrictions and government lockdowns have translated into revenue losses and increased operational cost, the report says.
This new challenge will further add to the long-term problem of insufficient infrastructure investment in the United States. Each year billions of dollars are needed to upgrade the system.
Still, the reality is that the actual funding is just a fraction of the total amount the government should spend, thus creating an investment gap, the report says.
If the government continues underinvesting, all sectors will be vulnerable to water service disruptions, incurring huge losses for businesses and industries, and affect its GDP.
However, when the investment gap is closed, it will bring many benefits from large-scale job creation, especially in construction, the establishment of a much more reliable water service that would result in better efficiency and production for all sectors, to GDP growth.