“Billions of Gallons of Water Lost Due to Leaky Pipes”
July 21, 2015
While Austinites have been under water restrictions and slowly increasing water rates for years, billions of gallons of water have spilled from city pipes. In 2014 alone, more than 4.76 billion gallons of drinkable water seeped from Austin pipes—enough to fill Lady Bird Lake twice. But a KXAN investigation has found the Austin Water Utility’s efforts to decrease, or keep level, the volume of lost water in the past few years has had mixed results. A program to replace aging pipes launched in 2012 could take nearly a century to complete at its current pace, and the volume of leaked water in Austin has increased each year since the program began. Our investigation prompted City Council Member Don Zimmerman to say he would propose more funding in the city budget to fix more mains faster. The digital component gave web users the ability to map every water line break over the last two years, how much water each leak lost and how much it cost the city to fix each leak. Users also had a ticker tool to show how much water the city leaked during the time the user had been visiting the web page. In addition to the video feature, viewers were also provided with a historic slideshow of the installation of the original cast iron pipes from the 1930s to illustrate the city’s aging infrastructure.
LINK to story online
Submitted by Josh Hinkle.