The water and wastewater industry in the United States is evolving due to evaporating funds, system failure, increased pressure on natural resources and strict regulations. Alternate methods of financing, design and project delivery provide engineering and construction firms with new opportunities.
As the estimated $20 billion shortfall in water and
wastewater infrastructure investment gains a foothold at a national level, the
industry remains a sleeper. Total U.S. water supply construction put in place
has grown from $7.6 billion in 1999 to $16.6 billion in 2009. It is expected to
grow to $20.2 billion by 2013. The total U.S. wastewater construction market
has more than tripled in size over the last decade, from $3.2 billion in 1999
to $10.3 billion in 2009.
The responsibility is on innovative engineering and
construction firms to offer solutions to problems that have dogged the
industry, and the legislation that supports it, for years. Design-build and construction
management at-risk project delivery now represents about 20 percent to 30
percent of all U.S. water and wastewater projects. The business management
consulting firm FMI expects these numbers to shift toward design-build and
other alternative delivery methods as municipalities are forced to find new
ways to deliver projects faster, cheaper and more efficiently in order to meet
stringent consent decrees, while operating within limited budgets.
Opportunities for Creativity in Water/Wastewater
March 16, 2010