Press Release

New Paper Provides Solutions to States Facing Water Infrastructure Crisis

New Paper Provides Solutions to States Facing Water Infrastructure Crisis

Open and Competitive Bidding Touted as Commonsense Solution to Water Infrastructure Crisis

Arlington, VA (September 18, 2013) The American Legislative Exchange Council today released a new paper that highlights the danger of limiting competition during the procurement process for state water infrastructure materials and proposes the simple solution of open and fair competition.

Every year, an estimated 300,000 water mains break and threaten the safety of the nation’s communities and place enormous financial burdens on states already struggling to balance budgets. Seventeen percent of all water pumped in the United States is lost through leakage at an annual cost of $1.4 billion. An estimated $3.8 trillion is needed to upgrade outdated water and waste water infrastructure over the next 20 years.

“There is a critical need to replace corroded and aged water systems. However, even as states struggle to finance this infrastructure, they continue to engage in practices that increase costs,” said Cara Sullivan, director of the American Legislative Exchange Council Task Force on Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development. “Ensuring the procurement process is open to all materials that meet industry standards will lower costs by expanding competition and allowing jurisdictions to choose which materials will provide the best infrastructure for taxpayer dollars.”

The paper, Lowering Costs in Water Infrastructure through Procurement Reform: A Strategy for State Governments, focuses on open and competitive bidding for water and waste water project materials as a solution for states to lower their infrastructure costs. Competitive procurement processes allow states and municipalities to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different materials and choose pipes they determine best meet their needs. Local officials and engineers have the most accurate knowledge of the conditions in which they operate and which materials are most suitable. However, they first need to be able to consider these materials.

“Opening the procurement process to competition will lead to lower prices and higher quality goods and services. It is a commonsense solution for states and municipalities that need to upgrade their water infrastructure systems,” commented Dr. Bonner Cohen, author of the report, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, and adjunct scholar with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

To view a copy of the report, please visit

Molly Fuhs


The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. The Council is governed by state legislators who comprise the Board of Directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit: