How often do you turn on your faucet or shower and think about where your water comes from? The luxury of having a consistent supply of clean water masks a harsh reality: the gradual depletion of this invaluable resource.
Deron Brown, President and Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Operations, PCL Construction
“To secure a strategic future, it is imperative to reshore critical manufacturing processes related to water infrastructure components.”
Take the Colorado River Basin for example. This resource alone supplies drinking water to 40 million people in the United States, however, due to extremely low water levels, states are being asked to cut their Colorado River water use. These shortages are exacerbated by the lack of robust infrastructure, population growth, and climate-related factors.
Water resiliency and sustainability
Growing demand and limited supply are causing America’s nationwide water shortage. Studies have shown that by 2071, 40 of 50 states could see their water supply decrease by up to a third.
The increasing demand for drinkable water, driven by population growth and urbanization, requires innovative solutions to ensure a sustainable water supply. Collaboration between local municipalities, communities, and organizations is vital in implementing water reuse projects. With these partnerships, all parties can come together to pool resources and successfully tackle the complexities of water planning and building.
Municipalities across North America can rely on the knowledge and experience of PCL Construction’s water infrastructure experts to increase access to clean water for their residents. PCL Construction is working on a variety of water reuse projects, one of which includes a project in San Diego that will recycle 30 million gallons of wastewater a day and recirculate it as high-quality purified drinking water.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the last decade has included some of the world’s warmest years on record. During this time, large parts of the country experienced prolonged and severe droughts. The impact climate-related factors have on water resources demands strategic infrastructure investments that can withstand extreme weather events.
The challenge? Historically, many cities do not receive the same funding for water infrastructure as more visible infrastructure upgrades like highways and bridges. It’s imperative we work together to support global understanding, policymaking, and planning that will help meet water infrastructure needs.
PCL Construction has worked with various municipalities to build drought resiliency projects across the United States. When Arizona was recently forced to cut its Colorado River water usage by 20%, PCL built infrastructure in Phoenix that allowed residents to receive water from an alternate water source.
California is also no stranger to droughts that have caused severe water shortages, crop losses, and economic impacts. PCL Construction is currently working to upgrade a century-old facility in San Luis Obispo to reuse water more efficiently, therefore reducing the dependency on reservoir and groundwater.
Given the changing climate and rising population, we must be strategic in the way we think about and manage water infrastructure. Especially at the state and local levels, not only is the proper funding necessary to improve the infrastructure, but a forward-thinking strategy behind where that funding goes is just as important. It takes collaboration between all parties to implement the strongest efficiencies not just for today, but for decades to come.
Reshoring critical manufacturing
To secure a strategic future, it is imperative to reshore critical manufacturing processes related to water infrastructure components. By bringing these manufacturing capabilities back to the United States, we can reduce our dependence on global supply chains and maintain control over the production of essential water treatment enhancements. This proactive approach not only boosts the economy but also ensures the availability of crucial resources during times of crisis, and helps contractors gain better control over their projects’ schedules.
We have reached a turning point in water infrastructure and are faced with a pivotal choice: We can continue the path of patching up old methods that won’t work for future needs or lean on collaboration to build a water-secure future.
Everyone plays a role when it comes to the water that’s being used daily, and the simplest actions to preserve water will make major positive impacts. There is a great opportunity not just to fix the current water infrastructure but to rethink how we invest in future infrastructure to guarantee continued access to clean water.