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American Water (AWK) Arm to Invest $7.4M to Replace Water Mains

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American Water Works (AWK - Free Report) announced that its subsidiary, New Jersey American Water is going to invest $7.4 million for replacing more than 3,600 feet of aging water mains in Little Silver. The upgrades will include replacing 36-inch cast iron water main with new 36-inch ductile iron main and installing new 8-inch ductile iron main along the entire length of Rumson Place.

These upgrades are part of the company’s multimillion-dollar initiative to upgrade the existing old water and wastewater pipelines. The replacement of old mains with new ones will increase resilience of operations and increase water flow for customers in the region.

Water Infrastructure is Aging

The U.S. water and wastewater infrastructure is gradually nearing toward the end of effective service life. Per the findings of the American Society of Civil Engineers, nearly 300,000 line breaks occur every year in the United States due to aging of the existing water infrastructure. The pipeline breaks result in the wastage of millions of gallons of potable water each day and loss of water utility operators.

Per the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association, an estimated $750 billion investment is necessary to maintain and expand the drinking water and wastewater service to meet demand over the next 20 years. Hence, huge efforts are needed from private operators, and funding is required from government agencies to upgrade and maintain the aging water and wastewater facilities.

The large water utilities operating in the United States are making investments on a regular basis to upgrade and repair old pipelines. American Water has been a frontrunner, and investing regularly to strengthen its water and wastewater infrastructure. The company has plans to invest $8.8-$9.4 billion in the 2020-2024 time period and $20-$22 billion in the next decade.

In addition to American Water, Essential Utilities (WTRG - Free Report) is also making regular investments to upgrade the existing water and wastewater systems. Its long-term plan is to invest $2.8 billion in the 2020-2022 time period to rehabilitate, and strengthen water as well as natural gas pipeline systems.

Price Performance

Shares of American Water have outperformed the industry in the past 12 months.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

American Water Works currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the same industry include California Water Service (CWT - Free Report) and Primo Water Corporation (PRMW - Free Report) . California Water sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Primo Water carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

California Water delivered an average earnings surprise of 70.2% in the last reported quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2020 earnings has moved 22.9% upward to $1.77 per share in the past 60 days.

Primo Water delivered an average earnings surprise of 65% in the last four reported quarters. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2020 earnings has moved 60.9% upward to 37 cents per share in the past 60 days.

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