The AWWA has identified that $US 1 trillion is needed over the next 25 years to maintain drinking water systems at current levels. Trump thinks the private sector can be incentivized to, at least partially, meet the water infrastructure deficit. However, he hasn’t said why companies would invest in a sector that generates no profit. He has vowed to eliminate the Clean Water Rule which clarifies which water bodies are subject to development restrictions. Trump may fast-track new, and enlarged, dams and reservoirs. Trump’s idea of fast-track is likely signaled by his nominee for the department of Interior, Ryan Zinke, who has shown a desire to shortcut regulations such as the endangered species act. He has supported bills to weaken the clean water act, eliminate stream buffers at surface mining projects, and allow logging projects on federal lands to skip environmental reviews. There are dozens of hydro-power projects coming up for license renewal. There are indications that Trump would save dam owners billions of dollars by backing down on requirements to give equal consideration to energy and environmental issues. We are living in interesting times.

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