What’s the Big Deal About Water Infrastructure?

Mike Jones, field operations expert

Have you ever wondered how water is delivered to your home, school, or business? An extensive network of water pipelines, treatment plants, wells, tanks, and pumps is the means by which Cal Water provides high-quality water to you and your neighbors. It’s what we call our infrastructure. What you may not realize is that infrastructure has a significant impact on water quality and reliability, and if ignored, can lead to health and safety risks. At Cal Water, we’re committed to ensuring a reliable water supply for everyday and emergency needs, which is why we are making significant investments in maintaining and improving our infrastructure. Here are a few things you need to know.

Firefighter putting out grass fire

Infrastructure is essential to everyday life.

Reliable infrastructure is indispensable for providing safe, high-quality drinking water for customers’ everyday needs and ensuring enough water supply for firefighters to protect our communities when emergencies arise.

Without pipes to deliver or facilities to treat water, our communities would lose access to the clean, safe drinking water we all need.

Water main construction

Just like with your car, preventive maintenance now saves you from more costly repairs later.

In many parts of the country, infrastructure was built decades ago and is in desperate need of repair. Many cities have infrastructure that fails to meet acceptable health and environmental standards. Even parts of California haven fallen dangerously behind, leading to a “Third World drinking water problem.”

50-year-old pipes, for example, need to be replaced before they break. Ignoring much-needed infrastructure updates can result in serious health and safety risks, not to mention significant increases in monthly costs for customers. Additionally, postponing investment increases the odds of facing high costs associated with water main breaks and other infrastructure failures.

Water tank in Chico

In the last three years, Cal Water has invested more in infrastructure than any other water company in California.

Across the country, an estimated $1 trillion is necessary to maintain and expand service to meet water delivery demands over the next 25 years. Only 77 percent of utilities have a main replacement program. By comparison, Cal Water has a robust Infrastructure Improvement Plan that includes a water main replacement program. In the last three years alone, Cal Water has invested more than $625 million in infrastructure projects to ensure the continued safety and reliability of your water system. Including:

  • More than $227M in water mains, which increase reliability for customers
  • Nearly $45M in water treatment plants and plant upgrades, which enables us to provide high-quality water
  • More than $86M in wells, tanks, and pumps, which ensures we can deliver the water supplies where customers need them