The current USACE Capital Stock incudes all water resources infrastructure built by USACE from 1928 to 2020. This infrastructure includes dams, levees, harbors and waterway improvements, locks, channels, hydroelectric generating works, and recreation facilities. The portfolio of infrastructure projects provides an annual stream of benefits to the nation in the form of transportation costs savings, flood damages prevented, electric power production, water supply storage, recreation, and ecosystem restoration that contribute to national economic prosperity; global competitiveness; and the health, safety, and quality of life of our citizens. Each year, Federal investments in infrastructure are made that increase capital stock value while the effects of wear and tear, deterioration, and retirements decrease its value. The capital stock value at any point in time determines the USACE capacity to produce services for the nation. It is important to monitor the trend in capital stock value as it will ultimately impact the USACE ability to produce services and benefits in the future. Understanding the USACE capital stock value can also help inform the review and evaluation of requirements for operations and maintenance (O&M) and new investments.
Key Findings (values in 2020 $):
- The estimated USACE capital stock value increased $6.1 billion on average each year from 1928 to 1982, when it peaked at $337 billion. From 1982 to 2019, the estimated value decreased on average by a little over $3 billion each year. It declined over $5 billion from 2019 to 2020. For 2020, USACE capital stock was estimated as being $201 billion or approximately what it was in 1960, representing a 40% decline from its peak in 1982. All values are expressed in 2020 dollars.
- The USACE infrastructure continues to generate benefits that contribute to our nation’s safety, quality of life, and economic competitiveness. However, the implication of the declining trend in capital stock value is that USACE’s ability to provide these important benefits to the nation will be diminished, requiring substantially more operations and maintenance expenditures (O&M), major rehabilitation, or some combination.
- If the average annual rate of decline in USACE capital stock value observed from 1982 through 2020 persists, USACE capital stock will have lost approximately half its peak value by the year 2036.
- Under the current study assumptions, over the next 10 years, about $26 billion of additional investment—or about $2.6 billion annually—will be needed to sustain the capital stock value near its current level (see figure below). Anything less will result in further decline over that time frame. This would imply over a 50% increase of the USACE annual investments in its capital stock.