Construction Today 2018 - Volume 16, Issue 3 - 18
can still be a challenging
to get water-related
construction off the ground.
ON THE WATER
There are opportunities for construction firms in water-related projects. BY JEROME DEVILLERS
here is no question that the U.S.
water infrastructure needs repair.
The unprecedented flooding and
droughts across the country over
the past 15 years and the lead contamination of public water in Flint, Mich., are just
a few examples that highlight widespread
need for more resilient water infrastructure.
While there has been movement to improve
U.S. infrastructure - including a $1 trillion
plan recently announced by the current
administration to boost infrastructure
investment - the need for construction in
this area may go well beyond current plans.
According to the American Water Works Association, the total costs to replace all pipes
in the United States could very well pass $1
trillion - that's before any work on roads,
bridges or other projects contemplated in
the plan by the current administration.
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM VOLUME 16, ISSUE 3
More than one-third (41 percent) of
survey respondents in the Mazars USA 2017
US Water Industry Outlook said they expect
capital expenditures to increase in excess of
5 percent compared to the prior year. While
water is currently a very small contributor
to the overall construction industry, there
are still very large water-related projects
with important construction components.
For example, the water management project being developed in Fargo-Moorehead
Metropolitan Area Flood Diversion Channel P3 Project, which will markedly reduce
flood risk. Add to that the fact that there
are many pipes that will need replacing
soon - 39 percent of respondents estimated
less than 10 years of useful life remaining
in their water mains - and there are plenty
of potential opportunities for constructions
While it can still be a challenging process
to get water-related construction projects
off the ground, there are a few key factors
that are critical: innovation, risk-sharing
mechanisms and financing.
At the forefront of innovation in water-related construction are environmental
regulations compliance, reduced capital
and operating costs, and real-time monitoring/smart management. The technologies
developed address challenges at different
levels of the treatment, distribution, use
and collection cycle of water management,
and they will affect the opportunities for
the construction industry.
On one end, innovation targeted at
large-scale treatment facilities and distribution/collection networks is focused