Trenchless Technology

JAN 2019

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water supply demand will be offset by the incremental downstream needs of a growing population and increasing commercial and industrial activity. In addition, the adverse effects of nu- merous natural disasters—including hurricanes and wildfires—continue to place additional stress on an already- strained water supply. Generally speaking , new water and sewer pipeline construction accom- panies new residential developments in sprawling metropolitan areas— this is currently the case in Southeast and Southwest regions. In addition, exten- sions to existing pipeline infrastruc- ture are needed in urban cores where growing populations require more wa- ter and generate more waste. Demand for new construction pales in compar- ison to the opportunity that exists for pipeline owners to repair and replace their aging infrastructure. Reliability risks associated with ag- ing water and sewer pipeline infra- structure were exacerbated by neglect following the downturn in 2008. State and local governments facing severe budget deficits (as a result of decreas- ing property tax revenues) were forced to choose between competing objec- tives ( i.e., affordability and quality). In order to stay afloat, municipal water utilities chose to allocate their limited funds toward maintaining the status quo—delaying the inevitable capital - intensive replacement of at-risk infra- structure. The American Water Works Association's (AWWA) cites the renew- al and replacement of water infrastruc- ture as the most important issue faced by the water industry. Its findings sug- gest that vast majority of underground water pipelines in the US are either nearing or have already surpassed their useful life and that over $1 trillion in investment will be needed through 2035 to adequately address the current state of the country 's water-related in- frastructure. The American Society of Engineers estimates that there are over 240,000 water main breaks across the country each year; according to De- loitte, the direct costs of these breaks has been pegged at ~$2.6 billion per year. In theory, these unforeseen costs are covered by the usage rates charged to residents by their local municipal water utilities. In the United States, small, munici- pal water utilities are largely responsi- ble for all costs tied to the maintenance of our water and sewer infrastructure (less than 1 percent of funding comes from federal sources). According to Deloitte, this is problematic given that less than one third of water utilities are able to cover maintenance costs despite accelerating usage rates from population growth. Federal funding to water and wastewater industry has varied historically and, ultimately, failed to keep pace with the level of as- sistance that has been needed. The newly-passed Water Infra- structure Act of 2018 provides some much-needed federal support in the near- term. The new law authorizes $3.7 billion for new Army Corps of Engineers projects and $4.4 billion for drinking-water projects. It also re- 42 T R E N C H L E S S T EC H N O LO GY JA N UA RY 2019

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