Infrastructure affects every single American. We all have experienced dodging potholes while we drive, water main breaks, or being packed like sardines in an overcrowded airport. We have seen the stories about the drinking water crisis in communities with neglected pipes, gas pipeline explosions, crumbling bridges, or levees that break during a flood. There are very few issues that have as much bipartisan support today as investing in our nation’s infrastructure. We all rely on it, and we all know it is #TimeToBuild and invest in these essential services.
Water and wastewater systems, roads, bridges, airports, the power grid, cell towers… it is all infrastructure. It affects our daily commutes and our summer vacations. Infrastructure determines if we can drink water straight from our taps and flush our toilets. It brings electricity into our homes and factories. For decades, the country deferred maintenance to our systems while other countries invested significantly more in everything from ports, to roads, and to rails. But there has been an awakening about the urgency of this issue, and more Americans support investing in our infrastructure than nearly any other issue right now.
That is why the North Texas Municipal Water District is participating in Infrastructure Week 2017. We’re joining hundreds of organizations across the country, all raising awareness about this critical issue.
In North Texas, we are experiencing tremendous growth in our cities as more and more companies relocate to take advantage of the economic benefits in our region. This growth fuels a booming economy, but also comes at a cost as we must expand our water and wastewater systems to meet the demands of new residents and businesses. Not only must we build new projects to meet this growing demand, but we must also maintain, repair and rehabilitate our existing pipelines, pumps and treatment facilities to ensure they operate efficiently and reliably.
During Infrastructure Week, we also want to recognize progress. We are moving forward with plans for the proposed Bois d’Arc Lake – the first reservoir to be constructed in Texas in nearly 30 years. This vital project will secure much-needed water supplies for years to come while also boosting our regional economy. The Trinity River Main Stem Pump Station is under construction, which will allow us to make better use of the East Fork Water Reuse Project (the wetland) by naturally recycling more water from the Trinity River. And several of our wastewater treatment plants are undergoing significant changes as we work to increase the treatment capacity at facilities like the Stewart Creek West Wastewater Treatment Plant in Frisco and the Wilson Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Allen.
As much as we may all agree that infrastructure needs improvement, investment comes at a cost. Water and wastewater rates are on the rise across the country and North Texas is not exempt from that. Many think their utility rates just pay for the consumption of the product, like water or electricity. The truth is that the commodity only makes up a small percentage of the total rate, with most funding the infrastructure costs. It’s why we keep emphasizing that water rates pay for #MoreThanWater – it pays for water infrastructure. And now, more than ever, it is #TimeToBuild and invest in our systems to make sure we continue to provide reliable service today and tomorrow.