Local governments may have reached the limits of sustainable water infrastructure investment, according to a report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which argues that cities and towns may need further help from the U.S. government to meet the needs of a growing population.

Local government investment in public water and wastewater infrastructure and services reached an all time high of $111.4 billion in 2010, the last year covered in the report, issued Wednesday. That compares with spending of $7 billion in 1972, when the Clean Water Act was passed. Public spending on water and wastewater over the decade 2001 to 2010 was $864 billion.

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