New Report Highlights Lack of Funding for Critical Water Mains in North America

New Report Highlights Lack of Funding for Critical Water Mains in North America

Interested in Infrastructure?

Get Infrastructure articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Infrastructure + Get Alerts

Utah State University has released its third study on water pipe materials titled “Water Main Break Rates in the USA and Canada: A Comprehensive Study,” focusing on the durability and longevity of water pipe materials. 

Led by Professor Steven L. Barfuss, P.E., the research highlights water main break rates as crucial indicators of pipeline failure. The study points out that soil corrosivity continues to affect pipe performance, and there is a notable shift in the materials used for pipes, moving away from asbestos cement and cast-iron due to their aging and deterioration.

The research surveyed over 800 utilities and analyzed data from nearly 400,000 miles of pipe, which is about 17% of the estimated 2.3 million miles of water mains in the U.S. and Canada. This comprehensive data set reveals significant insights into the aging infrastructure and the financial challenges of maintenance and replacement.

A critical finding of the 2023 study is that 20% of water pipes in North America are beyond their useful life and require replacement, a significant increase from the 8% reported in 2012. This represents a $452 billion funding gap and underscores a growing problem of aging water infrastructure. The report is the largest of its kind in terms of pipe mileage analyzed, vastly increasing the accuracy of its findings compared to previous studies by USU in 2012 and 2018, which were based on smaller sample sizes.

Other key findings are outlined at the USU website. Or Click here for a copy of the full report.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.