Following Brazil and Russia, the US and Canada are ranked third and fourth respectively in the top five countries worldwide with the most freshwater. However the Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW) says most of Canada’s freshwater is inaccessible "60 per cent of Canada’s surface water flows north. Only 2.6 per cent of the world’s freshwater supply is available to southern Canada where most of the population lives."

A survey released by MWH Global in June 2015 found that consumers in the US are concerned about water supply and water infrastructure issues in their communities, and 61 per cent say that their community should be spending more money to ensure water infrastructure is well-maintained and properly functioning.

"Development of cost-effective, advanced approaches to water infrastructure represents a key opportunity in many parts of the country," says Alan Krause, chairman and chief executive officer of MWH Global. "Now is the time for municipalities and utilities to evaluate the state of their infrastructure and consider taking steps to meet the needs of future generations."

He adds, "We continue to see a strong need for infrastructure upgrades in cities across the US. Extreme weather including hurricanes, flooding and drought continue to strain our country’s water infrastructure in ways that are often preventable through intelligent and timely infrastructure upgrades."

In this Insight section, T&T looks at water scarcity in North America, and how tunnelling industry can be part of the mitigation and solutions. David Egger and Chris Mueller of Black & Veatch encourage the industry to get involved and expand the conversation (page 35). Erika Moonin of the Southern Nevada Water Authority explains the agency’s underground solutions to severe drought conditions