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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: May 9, 2012
CONTACT: Sarah Pillsbury, 603 271-1168

Drinking Water Week Reminds New Hampshire Residents of the Value of Water Systems

Concord, NH – As Drinking Water Week continues, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) joins the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and water professionals across New Hampshire and North America in highlighting the importance of investing in water infrastructure including drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems, as well as dams. All of these built systems, many of them decades or even centuries old, serve collectively to have good quality water where you need it, when you need it.

“We all agree that water is an essential element in our daily lives, but for North Americans, water service is a convenience that we too often take for granted,” says AWWA Executive Director David LaFrance. “Those buried pipes deliver the water that is vital to our quality of life and economic vitality. They are among our most valuable community assets, and we need to assure they are in good working order for the next generation.”

In fact, according to a recent AWWA study titled “Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge,” the cost of repairing and expanding U.S. drinking water infrastructure will top one trillion dollars in the next 25 years. That figure will rise to $1.7 trillion by 2050.

“In New Hampshire, the estimated funding need for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is 2.1 billion dollars over the next ten years,” according to Sarah Pillsbury, Administrator of DES’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau. “This figure does not take into account new regulatory requirements related to wastewater treatment. Nor does it reflect the $58 million that will be needed for state and local dams in the next decade. In addition to these costs, there is significant funding needed for stormwater infrastructure, which is not well understood but has been estimated as being between 100 million and a billion dollars.

The question of how to ensure infrastructure viability is currently being studied by a Water Infrastructure Funding Sustainability Commission established by the legislature and will also be addressed by the Water Sustainability Commission established by Governor John H. Lynch in 2011. That commission held public listening sessions earlier this week at five locations throughout the state, and plans a sixth meeting in June for stakeholders. The commission’s report is due in September.

About Drinking Water Week
For more than 35 years, the American Water Works Association and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week—a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in our daily lives.

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
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