A group of 50 industry experts, including CH2M, came together from backgrounds in water supply, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, to develop a new report: “A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure: Innovative Pathways, Smarter Spending, Better Outcomes.”
With dams averaging 50-years-old, most wastewater systems operating well over their expected lifespan and leaky pipes responsible for the loss of 6 billion gallons of treated drinking water every day, water infrastructure in the United States is at a critical juncture to change the pattern, and the Pacific Northwest region is setting the tone.
The report, released by the Evergreen State College’s Center for Sustainable Infrastructure, is the first attempt to construct a regional shared vision for the future of water infrastructure in the Northwest, and highlights how the Northwest region’s water utilities can generate solutions by adopting new investment practices for billions of dollars in annual spending, guided by long-range vision and strategy.
In line with the trend toward innovation in today’s digital age, the report highlights the role that technology is playing in improving cost-performance, by providing a higher level of situational awareness and the ability to dynamically operate and maintain systems using sensors in real time.
“Technology allows you to collect data remotely and keep track of the condition of a pump or pump station to tell you the best time to do maintenance or repair, or to replace those assets,” noted Scott Haskins, CH2M senior vice president and global practice director for strategic consulting, in the report. “As things get older the costs go up for capital replacement, so you want to do the right things at the right time to achieve the lowest lifecycle cost.”
The full report introduces a robust portfolio of new water infrastructure solutions, expanding the choices available, and opening new opportunities for innovation. Many of these approaches save money for the local utility, and offer sustainability benefits across the environmental, social and economic triple bottom line.
“While America turns its focus toward two assets essential to our prosperity, as we celebrate National Drinking Water Week this week and National Infrastructure Week next week, the time is now to talk about how we can utilize these solutions for the future. The price tag of failing infrastructure is far too great to think about these critical resources for just two weeks out of the year,” said Greg McIntyre, CH2M state and local governments president.
To continue the conversation, CH2M will sponsor the “A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure” webinar this June, facilitating the sharing of the vision developed on the West Coast and continuing the focus on water and infrastructure.