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Value to the Nation


Capital Stock: Infrastructure Age

The top table on the left shows statistics related to USACE infrastructure age. About 35% of these dam structures are deemed to be in “poor” or “unsatisfactory” condition. USACE navigation structures (median age of 60 years), are slightly older than USACE dams (median age of 57 years). The variation in age is fairly high within both structure types with respective standard deviations of 20 years for dam structures and 27 years for navigation locks and dams. The high standard deviations around these ages are, in part, due to the different eras of USACE infrastructure investment. The maximum age for both navigation and dam structures is around 180 years, which suggests that, in very special cases, both dam and lock chamber structures can long exceed their expected service life. While these 180-year old projects are anomalies in the USACE portfolio, about 22% of USACE multipurpose and FRM dams are between 70 and 90 years old and about 28% of navigation structures are currently between 80 and 100 years old. In other words, more than 25% of USACE structures have already exceeded their respective estimated service lives of 60 and 75 years. See the figures to the right for histograms of the current age distributions of these two types of structures. Note that these age distributions do not take into account any major rehabilitations or structure replacement.

The average USACE infrastructure age is very close to the BEA-estimated "non-buildings" service life.

Graphic of Navigation Structure Age Distribution

Graphic of Distribution of USACE Flood Risk Management and Multipurpose Dam Age

Average Age of USACE Water Resources Projects (Snorteland 2017; Riley 2017)
Functional Category Number of Projects Average Age Median Age Standard Deviation Minimum Age Maximum Age
Flood Risk Management (FRM) Reservoirs 135 61 61 14.3 -0.81 9
Navigation Dams 71 72 80 27.1 0.89 15
Navigation Lock Chambers 222 65 60 26.6 1.21 10
Multipurpose (with FRM) 389 59 56 18.5 1.62 18
Multipurpose (without FRM) 120 63 55 29.4 1.86 8
Multipurpose (ALL) 509 60 56 22 1.98 8
All Dams excluding single purpose NAV 644 60 57 20 2 8
Navigation Structures 236 66 60 15 26 50
BEA Service Life Estimates for Government Nonresidential Structures
Asset Service Life (years) Asset Type
Industrial 32 Building
Educational 50 Building
Hospital 50 Building
Other 50 Building
Highways and Streets 60 Non-building
Conservation and Development 60 Non-building
Sewer Systems 60 Non-building
Water Systems 60 Non-building
Military Facilities 50 Non-building
Other 60 Non-building
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2023 Capital Stock Fast Facts