Children getting lead poisoning from the water supply in Flint, Michigan, this winter served as a wake-up call to a problem that has been lurking yet well-known for years: The nation’s water infrastructure is seriously aged and in need of replacement.
That’s evident, too, from the water leakage and pipe bursting that happens regularly in cities all over the country. About one-sixth of the nation’s clean water supply, or some 2 trillion gallons a year of treated and delivered water, leaks out of the vast underground water infrastructure before it reaches end users, according to the American Water Works Association.
In some cities, 30 to 40 percent of water sent through their systems ends up as non-revenue water that leaks somewhere along the way or that a busted meter fails to pick up.
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