In many ways, the public utility industry is in the best condition it has ever been. However, many problems continue to plague utility managers and administrators; the challenges they face are exacerbated by human and natural events and conditions not previously encountered. The combination of climate change, security threats, population growth, urbanization and road congestion, and infrastructure deterioration form a set of challenges for utility managers that promise to severely strain their financial and operational resources. This chapter looks at five of the major challenges that utilities must surmount over the next twenty-five years and beyond, including making the repairs and replacements necessary in large segments of the industry’s infrastructure, dealing with an increasingly stringent regulatory environment, climate change related environmental repercussions, securing the necessary funding for capital improvements, and protecting against physical and cyberattacks.
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David E. McNabb
David E. McNabb
Chapter 6 is an introduction to the water utility sector. This nation’s sector consists of two main segments: (1) the utilities that distribute water to where it is needed and (2) the general services segment that provides water and wastewater related services to utilities and consumers. This chapter addresses the utilities segment. The majority of systems in this segment are owned and operated by local governments or special districts, accounting for approximately 84 percent of all community water systems and 98 percent of all community wastewater systems. The utility systems are heavily regulated, both for safety and sanitation and for environmental impact.