Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Project

Damian Entwistle/Flickr

Analyzing and Proposing Solutions to Water Infrastructure Failures in Great Lakes Cities

It could cost Great Lakes states $200 billion over the next 20 years to bring drinking and wastewater infrastructure to a state of good repair. One of the primary drivers of sky-rocketing infrastructure investment needs is a history of low investment. The vast majority of water supply and wastewater infrastructure was installed in the early 20th century and is over 100 years old. To add fuel to the fire, increased federal regulations, climatic stressors, and rising construction costs all exacerbate the level of infrastructure investment needed.

If costs for water and sewer services must go up in order to finance the billions of dollars of infrastructure investment needed, how do utilities ensure affordability throughout their service area? CNT, with support from the C.S. Mott Foundation, is working to tackle this question.  We’re identifying a variety of infrastructure risks that impact shrinking cities throughout the Great Lakes Basin, evaluating the associated prevalence and cost of those risks, and, with an eye toward maintaining affordability, developing a set of solutions to increase infrastructure resiliency that can be tailored to cities based on existing risks and opportunities for intervention.

We’ll be posting case studies, resource write-ups, and other tools to this site in coming months. If your organization is interested in partnering with us as we work toward demonstrating solutions for tackling water infrastructure risks in the Great Lakes Basin, please contact with Anna Wolf