As in all other states, infrastructure of many drinking water and wastewater systems in North Carolina are rapidly aging and will require significant investment to rehabilitate and replace. North Carolina’s State Water Infrastructure Authority (SWIA) was charged by the North Carolina General Assembly to “develop a master plan to meet the State’s water infrastructure needs” and “analyze the adequacy of projected funding to meet projected needs over the next five years," among other critical tasks. SWIA is working with the Division of Water Infrastructure (DWI) in the NC Department of Environmental Quality to understand the current state of infrastructure needs across North Carolina. To assist in this effort, the EFC at UNC is conducting research on current infrastructure needs, and investigating alternative approaches that the State could utilize to continuously assess infrastructure needs in the state going forward. The EFC has also provided a review of an early draft of SWIA’s first Master Plan, which was published in early 2017.
The EFC at UNC determined that while EPA’s needs surveys estimated North Carolina’s drinking water and wastewater needs to be approximately $15 billion, a more inclusive assessment produces a 20-year infrastructure needs estimate of approximately $17-$26 billion.