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Arizona will need to spend about $7.4 billion on its drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years, an Environmental Protection Agency study said.

The money will have to be spent on both routine maintenance and improvements.

"Keep the pipes in good shape, to keep the treatment plants functioning," said Melanie Ford with the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona. "That costs a lot of money over a 20-year period to continue to provide Arizona with safe drinking water."

Ford went on to say that since WIFA's inception in 1992, WIFA has received approximately $500 million in federal funds, but has leveraged that into over $2 billion in loans for infrastructure projects in Arizona.

Water providers' customers re-pay those loans through the water rates they pay, and then they are loaned again to other communities.

On the whole, the United States will have to spend about $400 billion total, the study said.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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