Bluefield Research forecasts $300bn spending on municipal water infrastructure


Water technologies advisory firm Bluefield Research has released a report stating that $300bn of forecasted capital expenditures will be invested towards municipal water pipe and hardware network over the next ten years.

The report titled ‘US Municipal Pipe Markets: Trends, Opportunities and a Changing Competitive Landscape in Water’ predicted that new and replaced pipe and hardware infrastructure will form more than 57% of municipal utilities’ aggregate spending through 2026.

Bluefield Research president Reese Tisdale said: “The public does not want to think, or even know, about the 1.6 million miles of pipes underground, but hundreds of thousands of water main breaks and lead-tainted water have begun to put a spotlight on this historically overlooked sector.

“In fact, the average age of water pipes continues to climb– from 25 years in 1970 to 45 years in 2020– largely because of underinvestment.”

Meanwhile, the pipe sector’s material profile, for water and wastewater, is also undergoing change.

The company noted that plastic pipes such as PVC and HDPE, which account for $97bn of the total capital expenditure forecasted for the coming decade, are being preferred by utilities and engineering firms. 

It is expected that more than $2.7bn will be allocated to asset condition assessment and pipeline monitoring through 2026, while operating expenditures on leakage management will sum up to $1bn through the period.

Tisdale further noted: “Replacing water pipes is extremely labour intensive and costly, so utilities will increasingly be forced to look for ways to squeeze costs with more cost-effective materials, installation techniques, such as trenchless technologies, and network analysis.”

Headquartered in the US, Bluefield Research is an insight firm which offers research services that help water companies to validate their assumptions, address critical questions, and strengthen strategic planning processes.