ABWC Report: 10 Extreme Water Disasters in 10 Days

ABWC Report: 10 Extreme Water Disasters in 10 Days Strain Economies Across the Nation and Expose Critical Federal Funding Gap for Water Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 8, 2024) – The American Business Water Coalition (ABWC) today released a report that exposes the urgent need for the federal government to drastically increase water infrastructure funding and protect the nation’s businesses and local economies. ABWC’s new Business Impact Fact Sheet, “10 Extreme Water Disasters in 10 Days Shut Down Local Economies Across the Nation,” gathers a list of water infrastructure failures directly tied to extreme weather and business loss in or surrounding major metropolitan areas in all regions of the country between the dates of Jan. 14 and Jan. 23.  

Key events highlighted in the report include the following:

1. Memphis, Tennessee was placed under a boil water advisory between Jan. 18 – 23 following numerous water main breaks, impacting 600,000 people and wreaking havoc on businesses, many of which had to cease or significantly alter operations.

2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania suffered several large water main breaks following freezing temperatures, resulting in extreme street flooding and water shut-offs between Jan. 22-23 for 80 affected properties.

3. Metairie, Louisiana, the largest community in Jefferson Parish, placed 250,000 residents and all businesses in the community under a boil water advisory on Jan. 23 following a massive break of an 80-year-old water main. Grocery stores, hospitals, schools and other businesses were forced to limit services or cease operations until the advisory was lifted on Jan. 25.

To download the entirety of the ABWC report, please click here.

“This startling report only scratches the surface of what is happening in our country as a result of underfunded water infrastructure,” said Mae Stevens, chief executive officer of the American Business Water Coalition. “These events, which include water main breaks leading to water shut-offs and boil water advisories, will likely occur even more frequently in the future if the federal government continues to underinvest in our nation’s water infrastructure. Every business, no matter how big or how small, is dependent on water to operate. We are past due for this to be made a priority.”

Currently, federal funding accounts for only 5% of all nationwide investment in water infrastructure. Restoring the country’s water systems simply to meet our current needs will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years -- without taking into account the impacts of climate change or future threats like PFAS. Without a dramatic increase in federal investment, every business and community in America is at risk, with real-world effects showcased in this report.  

The American Business Water Coalition is a group of water-reliant businesses—from manufacturing to energy to tech and beyond. The coalition provides a platform for businesses across the country to urge Congress and the Administration to increase investment in water infrastructure, and foster relationships between businesses and their local utilities.
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