This study, the fourth of an annual series, looks at global trends in infrastructure and for the first time provides an indepth examination of water issues.

The report produced by the Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young also takes a hard look at the United States and warns that failure to address water risks and other critical issues posed by aging or inadequate infrastructure could further impede the U.S. economy and America's attempts to regain global competitiveness on a number of fronts.

Researchers urge that action be taken immediately to forestall the U.S. from falling further behind. They also strongly recommend new investment strategies that they say will change for the better how infrastructure improvements and maintenance are financed.

A free copy of the report can be downloaded from ULI's website.