Thursday, March 21, 2013

Infrastructure Report Card: Drinking Water: "D"

In their 2013 American Infrastructure Report Card the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gives the nation a "D" for drinking water. While the water quality, generally, does not pose a health risk, ASCE writes: "At the dawn of the 21st century, much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States."

Consider this from Baltimore: "For the second time in six days, Baltimore's aging water system ruptured, affecting service to dozens of businesses and homes downtown and in Essex, including two hospitals, while snarling traffic and providing yet another unpleasant reminder of the region's crumbling infrastructure." (From "City's infrastructure problems continue with two water main breaks Monday," Baltimore Sun, November 12, 2012, see article here).

During the New Deal, WPA workers installed 16,000 miles of new water lines. This is more than enough water line to extend from Washington, D.C. to New Delhi, India, and then back to D.C. The fact that many of these water lines still serve us today (far beyond the time they were expected to) is a testament to the good work of our elders & ancestors.    

Today, there are about 27 million Americans who would like a full-time job but can't find one (see here). Today, our infrastructure deteriorates and there is no WPA. In fact, the majority of our political "leaders" do not even discuss a new WPA.

(Image above is a WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

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