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Water Leaders Tout Economic Impact of Water Infrastructure Investment

Posted on September 10, 2014

(Kansas City, Mo.) – Today, in Washington, DC, water utility leaders from across the country asked policymakers to join local water utilities in investing the hundreds of billions of dollars required to strengthen the nation’s aging water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure, which in turn creates jobs and boosts the economy.

“Safe and reliable drinking water is an essential part of a healthy community and a resource that is often taken for granted,” said Terry Leeds, Water Services Director. “Thanks to the leadership of the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager, the support of voters who have recently approved water and sewer bonds, and the support of our customers, Kansas City has already made an impressive commitment to water infrastructure investment, despite an absence of federal dollars. We are thankful for the opportunity to improve Kansas City’s water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure – an investment for today’s residents and future generations.”

According to a new report by the Water Research Foundation and Water Environment Research Foundation, 30 large utilities from around the country will invest $233 billion over the next decade and generate more than half a trillion dollars in U.S. economic output. In Kansas City, the economic impact of Water Services’ operations and infrastructure investments will generate 5,550 jobs and $8.7 billion over the next ten years.

Water Services operates and maintains 2,800 miles of pipe that delivers clean drinking water right to the taps of almost a half million Kansas City residents and 33 wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. Yet, much of this aging water infrastructure, some of which dates back to the late-1800s, is in need of repair and/or replacement. Aging infrastructure is a challenge every city across the country currently faces. That is why Water Services will invest over $1 billion over the next five years in order to safeguard Kansas City’s water quality for future generations, in turn creating thousands of jobs in the region and representing one of the largest infrastructure investments currently taking place in Kansas City.

In April, Kansas City voters authorized $500 million in revenue bonds to repair and improve the City’s aging drinking water infrastructure. Over the next ten years, these bonds will fund projects that will: improve service reliability for customers; enhance water quality; protect public health through the delivery of safe and reliable drinking water; and boost economic development. Water distribution system improvements will be made, water mains will be replaced, and water treatment plants and pump stations will be rehabilitated through these bonds.

One of the most visible challenges associated with aging infrastructure are water main breaks. Last year, Kansas City experienced over 1,200 water main breaks. Moving forward, these bonds will fund Water Services’ strategic and data-driven Water Main Replacement Program. Through this program, Water Services will annually replace 28 miles of critical water main in areas of the city that are statistically proven to have water mains that are likely to fail. This proactive work means fewer water main breaks in the future, eventually resulting in fewer frustrating service interruptions for customers. And, once replaced, these pipes should last for up to 100 years.

To learn more about the work taking place in your neighborhood, please visit:

More information about the economic impacts of water utilities and water infrastructure investments, as well as a copy of the economic impact report, can be found at:

For additional information, please contact Jennifer Rusch, Media Relations Coordinator, at 816.513.0284 or


KC Water maintains and operates water treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. KC Water is primarily funded by fees charged to customers based on their use or impacts on the three utility systems.

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