Voorhees, NJ - June 05, 2007
The nation's water system faces the need for a massive upgrading, according to American Water Chief Operating Officer, John Young. "If not repaired and replaced, it will not continue to support our water needs," he cautioned while giving the keynote address today at the National Low-Income Energy Consortium (NLIEC) in Nashville.
"Our massive national water supply system, serving 300 million Americans and with a pipe network stretching 700,000 miles - more than 4 four times the length of the national highway system - is in serious need of upgrading." As such, he noted that "it is becoming increasingly important to discuss the challenges the water industry faces," further adding that "the value of water is underappreciated and the cost of water will have to rise if we are to continue to provide a safe and reliable product."
Acknowledging the particular focus the NLIEC was putting on water this year, Mr. Young also talked about American Water's H20 - Help to Others - program, created to assist low income customers pay their water bills: Since "low-income families do not have the choice of getting a cheaper supply of water somewhere else" and since "the water bill is usually the lowest utility cost in the household, people sometimes forget that for many, even this expense is a challenge."
Working in cooperation with regulators, H20 offers low- income customers assistance grants, discounts on monthly service fees, and water conservation devices and educational pamphlets. The program is funded by American Water, which matches customer contributions up to a certain amount.
Since Pennsylvania American's program was launched in 1991, for example, more than $1.6 million has been provided in grants to 9,136 families. H20 is currently operating in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with discussions underway to bring H20 to Arizona, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee.
John Young concluded his address by adding, "We need to find more ways to make water affordable to individuals while still addressing some of the larger infrastructure issues. I would like to see more ways for all of us here to work together and positively impact people's lives."
John S. Young, Jr. is chief operating officer of American Water and holds a seat on the Company's Board of Directors. Young has direct responsibility for company-wide operations and delivery of financial and operating performance, while establishing a balance between the company's immediate business goals and long-term vision. He is additionally responsible for all activities related to the Company's National Customer Service Center and Process Performance. Young is a registered professional engineer in a number of states. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Duke University and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina.
With headquarters in Voorhees, NJ, American Water employs approximately 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide high-quality water, wastewater and other related services to about 17 million people in 29 states and Canada.