The state of North American water infrastructure is only becoming increasingly dire as time goes on. As systems age, corrosion, materials erosion and external pressures cause deterioration, which has led to increasing water system maintenance and operating costs. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure gave both the nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure a dismal grade of D. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that upgrades to water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States could exceed $1 trillion by 2020.
In order to provide the kind of targeted renewal that our infrastructure system needs, municipalities need to have the funding required to address the scope of the issue. Many budgets do not allow for this kind of capital for financing water infrastructure, forcing utilities to be reactive, rather than proactive.
SUEZ' solution brings an innovative, cross-sector approach and new private equity investment together to give municipalities a real, attainable way to address the water and infrastructure needs they face today. In the new model, SUEZ pledges to upgrade, operate and maintain city water systems through a long-term concession agreement, which in turn attracts new long-term capital from private equity water investment partners.
The new resources not only serve to rebuild water and wastewater systems, but help ease pressure on municipal balance sheets, freeing cities to invest in other public services. And because the city maintains ownership and regulatory oversight, the utility itself never leaves public hands. Previous public-private partnerships in water management and urban water utilities include a 40-year concession in Bayonne, New Jersey and 50-year concession in Middletown, Pennsylvania, both of which show how SUEZ' solution creates a win-win situation for municipalities and our partners—one that benefits the health, environment and financial stability of the community.
When SUEZ upgrades and operates water systems more efficiently, it helps cities meet increasing environmental and water quality standards and shows cities' long-term commitment to growth. Because a private equity water investment can improve municipalities' bond ratings, this, in turn, can attract new long-term capital from other private equity partners. The new resources generated can then be used specifically to upgrade water systems and also to help ease pressure on municipal balance sheets, freeing cities to invest in other public services.
Using the knowledge gained around the globe, SUEZ has worked to optimize every stage of the water cycle. And we continue to work around the clock on our water system partnerships, ensuring that the millions of people who rely on us today have the high quality drinking water they need as well as environmentally sound wastewater returned to local waterways. Our goal is simple, to build a more sustainable future for us all—one drop at a time.
Contact us to learn more about our water concession agreements directly from representative.