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September 19, 2018

Changes Are Needed to Fund U.S. Water Infrastructure

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Water infrastructure in the western United States was funded in the early and mid-20th Century by federal financing through the Bureau of Reclamation, but such financing has declined in recent decades and there has been increased interest in alternative approaches to infrastructure funding. In Science Magazine, Martin Doyle, director of the Water Policy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, notes that two of these approaches–public-private partnerships and loan guarantees–are hampered by existing federal budgetary policies, however. "Everyone likes the idea of bringing more private capital to aging infrastructure; but no one is able, or willing, to get into the really weedy details of policy changes necessary to make such investments possible," he said.