The infrastructure estimated replacement costs (for municipal roads $91.1 billion, wastewater infrastructure $39 billion, drinking-water infrastructure $25.9 billion, and stormwater management systems $15.8 billion) totals $171.8 billion, nationally or $13,813 per Canadian household.
The replacement cost for the wastewater infrastructure in “fair” to “very poor” condition is $39 billion, or $3,136 per Canadian household.
Infrastructure Rated Fair or Poor Firstly, based on survey responses, overall report-card ratings for the four asset categories show that a significant amount of municipal infrastructure rank between “fair” and “very poor”—on average about 30%. The replacement cost of these assets alone totals $171.8 billion, nationally.
The report indicates that municipal roads require urgent attention. An overall grade of “Fair” means that the infrastructure “shows general signs of deterioration and requires attention, with some elements exhibiting significant deficiencies.” More than half the roads surveyed fall below a rating of “good”: 32% are in “fair” condition, and 20.6% are in “poor” to “very poor” condition, for a total of 52.6%. In addition, the report finds that one in four Canadian roads is operating above capacity, highlighting a real challenge to moving goods and people within our communities in the short and medium term. The estimated replacement cost of the roads in fair to very poor condition is $91.1 billion, nationally. For the average Canadian household, this amounts to a cost of $7,325.
A mixed picture emerges for wastewater infrastructure, with 40.3% of wastewater plants, pumping stations and storage tanks in “fair” to “very poor” condition, and 30.1% of pipes in “fair” to “very poor” condition. The replacement cost for the wastewater infrastructure in “fair” to “very poor” condition is $39 billion, or $3,136 per Canadian household. With wastewater infrastructure now subject to new and more stringent federal regulations, even good or very good wastewater infrastructure may require upgrading or replacement.
Despite its overall “good” rating, drinking-water infrastructure also presents some cause for concern: 15.4% of the systems were ranked “fair” to “very poor” for the condition of their pipes. The figures were not much better for plants, reservoirs and pumping stations, where 14.4% ranked “fair” to “very poor”. Only 12.6% of plants, reservoirs and pumping stations ranked “very good”, as did just 4.2% of the pipes. Considering the potential impact of drinking-water systems on human health, these deficiencies have significant importance. The replacement cost for the drinking-water infrastructure in “fair” to “very poor” condition is $25.9 billion, or $2,082 per Canadian household.
Canada’s stormwater management systems are the best of the infrastructure classes covered in the report card. These were generally rated “very good”. Even here, however, 12.5% of stormwater installations surveyed fall below “good” condition, with that figure rising to 23.4% for stormwater pipes. The replacement cost for the stormwater infrastructure in “fair” to “very poor” condition is $15.8 billion, or $1,270 per Canadian household.
A Penny Now, or a Dollar Later
Secondly, the report card points to the cost of delaying infrastructure repairs, rehabilitation, or renewal. It found that, under current practices (investment, operations, maintenance), most infrastructure, even if in good-to-very-good condition now, will require ever-increasing investment as it ages.
The report card emphasizes the importance of having an asset-management system in place, in order to establish practices that will increase the longevity of the assets and optimize investments in maintenance and rehabilitation.