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The Benefits of Open Competition in Water Infrastructure

Apr 2019

Open competition saves municipalities money.

Whether or not you ultimately chose PVC pipe, just having a competitive bidding process will save your town or city money. Funds that you can put to use to address other critical needs in your community.

But don’t just take our word for it. The U.S. Council of Mayors issued a report that says that “municipalities can no longer afford to overlook opening up their procurement processes so that managers have the freedom to consider all suitable project materials.”

The report, Municipal Procurement: Competitive Bidding for Pipes Demonstrates Significant Local Cost-Savings, says that:

Adopting practices and policies that encourage standardized comparisons of different pipe materials for water, sewer, and stormwater projects provides mayors with an opportunity to reduce the local cost of pipes and maintain equal or better public safety and material performance levels. A review of new information reveals standardized cost comparisons demonstrate significant price point differences and updating procurement policies can save as much as 30% of capital costs.

The report looks at three critical considerations when procuring water and sewer pipes: cost, materials performance, and public safety. It found that analyzing all three during an open procurement process can yield “substantial cost savings without having to sacrifice performance or safety.” The report also identified a number of benefits of open competition, including:

  • The average cost to replace drinking water pipes in an open competition system is 26% per mile less expensive than in “closed” competition regions.
  • The savings from “open competition” for stormwater averages 39% per mile.
  • “Open competition” could save an estimated $20.5 billion for drinking water nationally and $22.3 billion for stormwater in pipe material costs alone over the next 10 years.

Also check out this open competition infographic for more data on the value of open competition and why PVC pipe is reliable and durable — and saves taxpayers money.