A Perspective … Are you aware of what is not disclosed nor made transparent…?

America’s infrastructure issues today are the consequence of our permitting government to exclude us for having voice and a prime seat at any negotiating table …

The consequences of ignoring water risks in the US

Failure to address water risks and other critical issues posed by aging or inadequate infrastructure could further impede the US economy and America’s attempts to regain global competitiveness on a number of fronts, a new study has warned.

That is the conclusion of Infrastructure 2010: Investment Imperative, the fourth in an annual series of reports produced by the Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young that examine infrastructure trends around the globe.

In addition this year, the report takes its first hard look at water issues. “Falling behind global competitors, the United States struggles to gain traction in planning and building the critical infrastructure investments that are necessary to ensure future economic growth and support a rapidly expanding population,” the report states.

“Perhaps no other infrastructure category presents the United States with greater challenges than water.”

“Over the past several years that we have been co-producing this report, perhaps the most troubling conclusion overall is that the world is moving ahead in rebuilding and expanding its infrastructure without the United States,”

“Bottom line, the US is seriously threatening not only its quality of life now and for the future but also its very basic ability to compete economically with the rest of the world.”

For the US, infrastructure was a “backburner issue” when ULI and Ernst & Young began its scrutiny of the area four years ago, the presenters said, adding that now “noncompetitive and deteriorating infrastructure systems – transportation, water, dams, and power” are of critical concern.

In the study, ULI and Ernst & Young examined 14 US cities – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. – to illustrate the challenges facing urban America.

The problem becomes apparent when considering that the 14 cities and their greater metro areas are expected add 60 million people to their populations by 2030, McAvey and Roth said.

Overall the US is expected to add 120 million more people by 2050 despite existing water constraints, the presenters noted, adding that the country’s water footprint is already among the largest in the world and almost double the global average.

“If you look at infrastructure vs population grown, we’re on a totally unsustainable path,” McAvey said. The presenters cited waste from old, leaking pipes and failure to conserve water as the chief reasons for the high water footprint in the US.

Neglected leaks are responsible for 1.25 trillion gallons of wasted water annually – roughly the consumption of Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago combined, according to the report.

“That’s the catch with water infrastructure,” said Lucki. “There’s more problems in what you can’t see than what you can.”

In contrast, other infrastructures problems, such as road conditions or transit system meltdowns, are readily visible and immediately addressed.
Further water challenges include high demand growth and usage even in arid areas of the country and threats of water contamination from industrial chemicals and agricultural runoff.

Lack of cooperation among local and regional authorities can also contribute to water problems.
In offering solutions, some of the report’s strategies are similar for water and transportation, calling for both issues to be addressed through improved collaboration among governmental entities, incorporating land use and infrastructure considerations in planning decisions, and accepting higher user costs as a necessity.

But looking specifically at water, the report urged for a wide range of new measures including: using federal allocations to encourage the creation of long-range regional management programs to integrate water supply and conservation strategies with population projections, agricultural needs and utility demand; giving top priority to repairing and upgrading existing systems; incorporating land use into water management policies; using only native species in landscaping; building more compactly to reduce runoff and enhance retention; enhanced protection of ecosystems to enable more natural storage and restoration; improved use of all available resources to maximize availability of water – such as capturing rainwater, recycling wastewater, recharging groundwater and making nonpotable water potable; the introduction of incentives for water conservation; and investment in desalinization technology.

The report recommended that the US look to Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent, as an example of how to manage growing water constraints.

Overall, the report said that Americans should rethink how they pay for infrastructure and its maintenance, proposing more public-private partnerships to finance infrastructure development and operate systems; the introduction of a national infrastructure bank that could help align government and private investor interests, and attract greater private capital; and the roll out of innovative tolling technologies and smart meters to help users monitor and manage expenses related to transportation, water, and energy.

“Investing in infrastructure – done well and strategically – can help ensure increasing prosperity and the rising standards of living that Americans have come to expect”

A version of this article first appeared at GreenBiz.com … GreenBiz Staff, BusinessGreen 14 Apr 2010 … Permalink: http://www.businessgreen.com/2261317 … excerpted …

Taking the proper steps to address our infrastructure issues DEMANDS … “we” … have a voice and a seat at the table … anything less is unsustainable

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People should never be afraid of their government, government should always be afraid of the people.

To know that you do not know is the best. To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease. … Lao-tzu

Everyone has the RIGHT to clean & accessible water, adequate for the health & well-being of the individual and family & NO one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstances

And let me be a bit bolder … I am most willing to present and discuss any water or wastewater issue with an audience in Arizona where honest two way dialog is permitted

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