We know a reliable supply of safe drinking water is critical to the success of our region. Northeast Ohio is blessed with a great and ample source of water – Lake Erie – but it takes a lot of work and infrastructure to deliver it to our 1.4 million customers. Cleveland, like most other older cities, is facing an inevitable aging of its infrastructure. Fortunately, Cleveland Water is reinvesting in the water mains in the system as a proactive measure against the increased main breaks and infrastructure deterioration that can interrupt water service and inconvenience customers and businesses throughout the nearly 80 communities in the Cleveland Water system.
Over the past 30 years, Cleveland Water has spent more than $1.6 billion modernizing our treatment plants, water tanks and towers, and some of our water mains. In 2013, our $650 million Plant Enhancement Program was completed, providing major upgrades to our treatment plants. Now, we are shifting the focus of our Capital Improvement Program to the 5,200 miles of water mains in the Cleveland Water system.
Currently, nearly $20 million per year is spent replacing water mains and, over the next nine years, approximately 50% of our capital spending will be dedicated to replacing aging infrastructure buried underground. This means, between 2015 and 2023, we plan to spend nearly $237 million upgrading our water mains which are often out of sight and out of mind to the general public.
This includes water main improvement projects in the city of Cleveland and our suburban communities as a part of our successful Suburban Water Main Renewal Program. Through the first six years of this program, nearly $62 million has been invested in communities that have signed up for the program. While the agreements speak of spending $10 million a year, funding is increasing to $15 million per year in order to accelerate construction.
Cleveland Water takes its role as steward of one of our region’s major assets seriously, and will continue to treat and deliver high quality drinking water to the region’s 1.4 million residents. For more information on what it takes to treat and distribute water, click here.