Media Discourse on Aging Water Infrastructure
38 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 13, 2014
Water infrastructure in the United States is aging. Budgetary constraints of federal, state and local governments have resulted in the delay or deferral of critically needed investments. Infrastructure failures such as water main breaks are a daily occurrence in many cities across the U.S. Recent observations at the state and national level indicate that public opinion is asserting itself on public investment decision-making by elected leaders. We conducted a content analysis of print media articles during the period 1999-2012 on water main breaks (WMB), and water and sewer rate increases (WSR). Approximately 500 articles on each topic drawn from the LexisNexis news database were randomly selected for the analysis. Our analysis found that media coverage of water infrastructure is an episodic affair with little attention to ongoing issues. WSR articles contained more details and a focus on governance, while WMB articles addressed business concerns and were concentrated in older cities.
Keywords: water infrastructure, water main breaks, rate increase, content analysis, aging infrastructure
JEL Classification: L82, L95, R11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation