Water Infrastructure

Why It Matters


To safely deliver water and wastewater services to our customers, adequate infrastructure must be in place to support these services. Across the U.S., there are many examples of water and wastewater infrastructure that has fallen into disrepair due to a lack of funding for upgrades and replacements.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) U.S. water infrastructure report card provides insight into the current state of the country’s water and wastewater infrastructure and underscores the need to maintain adequate infrastructure. The ASCE’s most recent report card in 2021 gave the U.S.’s water infrastructure a C-grade and wastewater infrastructure a D+ grade. The latest water infrastructure grade represents a modest improvement from a D+ in 2017, while the wastewater infrastructure grade remained consistent. For the first time, the report card rated storm water infrastructure, which received a D grade.

These scores demonstrate the ongoing need for infrastructure investments that promote efficiency improvements and increases reliability. Looking ahead, we know that climate change will have a significant impact on water infrastructure across the U.S., underscoring the importance of upgrading infrastructure to maximize resiliency and mitigate intensifying climate change impacts.

Our Approach


We strive to balance infrastructure needs with water and wastewater affordability by consistently making infrastructure investments that will minimize significant risks and maximize benefits to our customers. Our comprehensive planning process uses a long-term, risk-based and comprehensive approach to evaluate the capacity, condition and performance of our water and wastewater systems. When evaluating our assets, we evaluate risks related to water pressure; water quality; regulatory compliance; system capacity; water main leaks and breaks; sewer system inflow, infiltration and overflow events; and overall system reliability and resiliency.

We conduct numerous comprehensive planning studies (CPS) and asset management plans (AMP) annually, and we evaluate systems on a rotating basis by priority, resulting in a prioritized capital improvement plan for each system. The combined CPS and AMP process includes:

  • Evaluating the availability of our water supplies and system capacity against the projected growth of customer water usage;
  • Assessing our water treatment performance against projected changes to water quality regulation and significant emerging contaminants;
  • Evaluating the capacity and treatment capabilities of our wastewater systems; and
  • Evaluating the condition and performance of our assets.

We make annual capital investments over $1.6 billion per year towards upgrading and expanding our installed asset base, totaling over $25.6 billion in book value. Our investments increase annually as we work to fix leaks, improve water quality, safeguard consistent water supply and maintain regulatory compliance across our water and wastewater systems. In the past decade, we have significantly increased our infrastructure investment budget, totaling over $12.7 billion of regulated investment. We expect the need for significant infrastructure investment to grow, and over the 2021–2025 period, we expect to invest approximately $10.3–$10.5 billion in our regulated footprint with approximately $8.9 billion, or 85%, dedicated to regulated investments.

We attribute the need for increased infrastructure investments to several factors, including our growing footprint, aging infrastructure and increased climate change volatility. We leverage advanced climate models and forecasts to evaluate our risks and opportunities for increasing the resilience of our assets. For more information, please see Climate Variability.

We have a strong record of operating and maintaining distribution and treatment infrastructure, which can foster greater community resiliency for residents and businesses and boost economic development. Our reputation also allows us to grow our business through acquisitions of both municipal and private water and wastewater systems. Additional capital investments into the infrastructure of our acquisitions helps acquired systems increase compliance with regulatory standards and meet our own internal best practices for adequate and resilient infrastructure. 


Our Performance

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We measure our water infrastructure performance by measuring our water main replacement rate and the number of unplanned service disruptions. These indicators help inform decisions about future pipe replacement needs and support for regulatory mechanisms.

Despite increasing climate variability and frequency of extreme weather events, the number of unplanned service disruptions and main breaks per mile has steadily decreased since 2018. In 2019, we experienced 0.22 breaks per mile, a nearly 25% decrease from the previous year. In 2020, our main breaks per mile decreased an additional 10% down to 0.20 main breaks per mile.

In 2019, we replaced 0.75% of our water mains, equating to a replacement rate of 133 years and an improvement of more than 21% from the previous year. In 2020, the replacement rates remained consistent; we replaced 0.76% of our water mains, equating to a replacement rate of 135 years. Since 2015, our pipe renewal rate has averaged an approximate 145-year replacement cycle.

We have a long-term goal to achieve a 100-year pipe replacement cycle, compared to the current industry average of approximately 185 years.