For every living thing across the world, access to fresh and consumable water is crucial. Since only 3% of our planet’s water is fresh1, it is even more important that the pipe that delivers it is long lasting, durable and sustainable. That’s never been truer than today, as America and many other countries around the globe face a growing infrastructure crisis.
Thousands of miles of water pipe made of iron, steel, concrete, clay or even wood were installed decades ago and intended to last 40-50 years. These utility pipes are nearing the end of their serviceable life. Due to pipe deterioration from old age and extreme weather conditions, nearly six billion gallons of treated drinking water are lost every day in the United States2 alone. That’s roughly 2.1 trillion gallons a year – enough to support 15 million households.
After the February 2021 “Texas Freeze,” many communities were devasted by the inclement weathers’ impact on the state’s infrastructure. Some cities were even left without clean drinkable water due to water line failures, including three small, rural towns.
Dow, industry leaders and local government officials collaborated to replace approximately 42,000 feet of metal pipe with leak-and-corrosion-resistant high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe in several parts of the rural towns’ piping systems, equivalent to the combined length of 116 football fields.
The newly installed pipes are expected to avoid approximately 3.5 million gallons of water loss annually, equivalent to over 26 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The pipes were manufactured with Dow’s CONTINUUM™ Bimodal Polyethylene Resins, providing more durability, flexibility and a more sustainable solution, as it helps to prevent line fissures, unnecessary water loss and exceeds industry performance standards. The new, reliable sections of the water piping systems will also require less maintenance with over a 100-year lifespan.
As the United States focuses on improving infrastructure for future generations, we are committed to providing solutions that have a positive impact in our communities and our planet for generations to come. Learn more about the initiative here.
This project was made possible due to the active involvement of associations and organizations throughout the pipe value chain including Pipeline Plastics, Modern Dispersions, McElroy Manufacturing, Red River Authority of Texas, Plastic Pipe Institute, the Alliance for PE Pipe and others.
1 How Much Water is There on Earth?, Water Science School, U.S. Department of the Interior
2 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure Investment, ASCE