April 8, 2008

Henny Penny! The Pipelines are Breaking!

But let's not worry about that! Like the economy, everything will straighten itself out. Right!!!
US water pipelines are breaking
Water Pipelines Across the US Are Breaking;

Repair Costs Put at Nearly $300 Billion
COLLEEN LONG, AP News, Apr 08, 2008 13:33 EST
Two hours north of New York City, a mile-long stream and a marsh the size of a football field have mysteriously formed along a country road. They are such a marvel that people come from miles around to drink the crystal-clear water, believing it is bubbling up from a hidden natural spring.
The truth is far less romantic: The water is coming from a cracked 70-year-old tunnel hundreds of feet below ground, scientists say.
The tunnel is leaking up to 36 million gallons a day as it carries drinking water from a reservoir to the big city. It is a powerful warning sign of a larger problem around the country: The infrastructure that delivers water to the nation's cities is badly aging and in need of repairs.
The Environmental Protection Agency says utilities will need to invest more than $277 billion over the next two decades on repairs and improvements to drinking water systems. Water industry engineers put the figure drastically higher, at about $480 billion.
[...] The 36 million gallons a day that leak from the 85-mile Delaware Aqueduct in New York state amounts to more than 1 billion gallons a month. That may be a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of billions of water consumed in New York City every year, but the daily leak in the tunnel would meet the daily demands of drought-ravaged Raleigh, N.C.
[...] Repairs tend to be long and costly, especially since many systems were built nearly a century ago, deep underground, where buildings and major roads now stand.
Even monitoring pipes for vulnerabilities can be expensive and tricky, since it's not possible to shut down a city's water supply to test for leaks. If New York were to do that to the Delaware Aqueduct, for example, the 13 1/2-foot-diameter tunnel might crumble under the crushing weight of the land without the water to support the duct. [my bold]
[...] Around the country, water rates are going up to help pay for the repairs, estimated at anywhere between $550 and $7,000 per household during the next three decades.
Augusta, Ga., raised rates 11 percent from 2001 through 2007 for a $300 million program to improve the deteriorating water system. Cleveland gradually increased rates by about 6 percent for more than 15 years to fund a $750 million project to address aging and inefficient pipes. Springfield, Mass., doubled rates for its 250,000 customers. Philadelphia, Kenosha, Wis., Portsmouth, Va., and other cities have followed suit.
Many engineers and water utilities say water bills around the country are too low. In New York City, where a studio apartment can rent for more than $3,000 a month, the cost of water and sewage is about $60 for an entire single-family home.[...]

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