Report: California’s water systems are in deep trouble

April 2021

America has underinvested in its aging water systems. A new study in California highlights the gaps.

A new report is highlighting the gaps in California’s water infrastructure — and how much money the state will need to fix it.

The report, published by the state’s Water Resources Control Board, found that 620 public water systems and 80,000 domestic wells are at risk of failing to provide affordable and uncontaminated water, a problem that California will need $4.7 billion of extra funding to solve. The report includes the first-ever analysis of the state’s domestic wells — a common water source for rural communities. Threats to these systems are often poorly understood due to lack of good data.

California is not alone in its water woes. America’s water systems, on the whole, are aging and underinvested in — the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2021 report card gave American water infrastructure a C grade. That report card highlighted that federal investment in water infrastructure projects has declined from 63 percent of all capital spending in the water sector in 1977 to just 9 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, maintenance costs reached an all-time high in 2017, in part due to the fact that nearly half of maintenance is done reactively, after systems have failed because of deferred maintenance or investment.

Read more about California's water system here: