City of Houston loses 30 billion gallons of water due to failing water infrastructure

(UI) – According to the Houston Chronicle, the city of Houston lost 30 billion gallons of water in 2022 due to aging infrastructure. The Chronicle also reported that the city lost 9 billion gallons from January to April 2023. The combined total loss of revenue is estimated around $150 million. The loss comes despite spending over $34 million to repair water pipes across the metropolitan area.

The Houston Public Works Department associates the water pipe damage to extreme weather, causing the ground “move and shrink.” The movement causes further damage to an already aging infrastructure system, which is currently made up of old, unreliable materials like cast iron and asbestos concrete.

The Houston Chronicle reported that the city lost more than 20% of it’s water supply “at least five times since the start of 2022.” The Chronicle also suggested that Houston’s water control is behind other major cities, such as Austin and San Antonio.

Lack of funding and rising material costs has made handling pipe repairs difficult for city officials. The Chronicle reported that programs to replace over 7,000 miles of water pipes have slowed significantly. For example, 140 miles of damaged water pipes were replaced in 2014, compared to the 10 miles in 2022.

The water loss due to failing infrastructure is causing concern for the city, who is anticipating major water shortages as the population grows at a rapid rate. To help, Houston Water launched it’s “Give Water a Break” program to educate residents about water conservation.

However, critics say the utility must do more to improve it’s water system, and soon, to combat the coming water shortage.

This story was originally reported by the Houston Chronicle.

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