According to Daily Press updated on July 13th:
While water pipelines are judged to have a useful life of 50 to 100 years, much of America’s infrastructure is falling behind recommended replacement and upgrade benchmarks, civil engineers say.
In the High Desert and elsewhere, pipeline replacements are annually scheduled at varying rates, depending on available funding and identified priorities.
The American Society of Civil Engineers in 2013 gave the overall condition of infrastructure in the United States a letter grade of D+, or Poor. The water and wastewater categories each earned a letter grade of D, and the investment needed to make repairs in all categories by 2020 was estimated to be $3.6 trillion. About $1 trillion of that is needed for drinking water infrastructure, industry engineers say.
A spotlight was cast on Southern California’s aging infrastructure in July 2014 when a 93-year-old Los Angeles Department of Water and Power pipe burst along Sunset Boulevard and flooded part of the UCLA campus, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and the loss of 20 million gallons of water, or enough to serve 155,000 people for a day, according to news reports at the time.
“Aging infrastructure illustrates what some see as the failure of many agencies, particularly municipalities, to have properly invested in replacing infrastructure or even regular replacement programs,” the Sacramento-based Water Education Foundation wrote in its Western Water magazine in 2012.
The ASCE’s letter grades range from A for Exceptional to F for Failing. The society previously issued a 2011 report titled “Failure to Act,” showing that if current trends were followed the maintenance cost gap will widen over the decades from $54.8 billion in 2010 to $143.7 billion in 2040.
“The ‘Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Water and Waste Treatment Infrastructure’ report shows that our nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is aging and overburdened, and that investment is not keeping up with the need,” the society says on its website. “However, a modest increase in investment in drinking water, wastewater and wet-weather water quality measures can prevent future economic losses.”
The Far West region including California is noted as needing newly built infrastructure and maintaining existing drinking-water, wastewater and wet-weather infrastructure. Addressing that is the $7.5 billion in funding available through grants from the November passage of Proposition 1.
Guidelines for grant applications are being developed by state agencies such as the State Water Resources Control Board, Wildlife Conservation Board, Natural Resources Agency, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Water Resources, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, various state conservancies and the newly created California Water Commission that is administering $2.7 billion of the total for water storage projects.
The civil engineers society supported the proposition.