North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wants to use about $800 million from a proposed $3.9 billion bond issue to help fix the state's deteriorating water systems.
Voters will decide whether to approve the bond issue in November 2020.
The state’s 2017 Water Master Plan Report estimated that between $17 billion and $26 billion will be needed to repair or replace its aging and often decrepit water infrastructure, a process projected to take 20 years.
The year the report came out, the state was expecting $100 million in grants in 2018 and 2019, which The DWI Master Plan Report said would fund merely 8 percent of wastewater infrastructure needs and 7 percent of drinking water needs.
The report says the need to repair and replace water infrastructure is especially acute in rural areas of the state, where population is declining along with local tax revenue, leaving municipalities to take a Band-aid approach in emergencies but unable to tackle any needed overhauls.
Additionally, North Carolina's aging infrastructure has not been able to keep up with the raw sewage – in the millions of gallons – that overwhelms wastewater treatment plants after heavy storms, according to the report.