Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



The Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management in the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston was tasked by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Advisory Board (MWRAAB) with asking and answering a very fundamental question relating to public infrastructure: “What is the relationship between investment in water and wastewater infrastructure and economic growth?” To do so, Center staff not only researched the positive results of investing in infrastructure, but also took time to consider what failing to invest in adequate water and wastewater infrastructure might mean. Additionally, the Center sought to identify some of the challenges facing Massachusetts today and in the future. The Center divided the task into four components: 1) review of academic research on the topic of infrastructure investment; 2) preparation of Massachusetts case studies illustrative of different successes and challenges; 3) documentation of the state of water and wastewater infrastructure in the Commonwealth today; and, 4) identification of challenges that presently exist and those that are not too far over the horizon.

Where possible, the Center attempted to quantify the financial implications of investing or failing to invest, but it should be understood that these are only order of magnitude figures; significantly more detailed analysis would be needed to determine the true cost. One of the hoped for outcomes of this report is that it will prompt more detailed assessment at the municipal, regional, and state level into the infrastructure issues identified herein.



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