American water infrastructure desperately needs to be updated, and water improvement projects could put as many as 1.9 million Americans back to work, a new report released on Tuesday found.
The report, which is the result of collaborative effort between Green For All, American Rivers, Pacific Institute and the Economic Policy Institute, analyzed the economic impact of a $188.4 billion investment in water infrastructure—the amount the EPA says is necessary to update American systems.
American water infrastructure investment has fallen to one-third of what it was during its peak in 1975. With over 860 billion gallons of untreated sewage left to contaminate the nation’s water systems each year—enough to cover the entire state of Pennsylvania in one-inch deep waste—an aggressive investment in water infrastructure is both a matter of public health and economic recovery.
Due to the lagging economy, now is the best time to invest in such a project, as not only will such an endeavor create jobs, but financing and construction costs are at historic lows, giving taxpayers more bang-for-their-buck, the report argues. Such an investment could create nearly 1.3 million direct and indirect jobs, while increased spending will contribute to another 568,000 additional jobs.
Cleaning our environment and putting people to work has always been the value proposition of the green economy,” said Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All. “This report demonstrates that there’s a massive opportunity to ensure clean water, improve the economy, and put people – particularly low-income workers – back to work.”