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News

Citizens, Politicians Steamed about Water Main Breaks

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A water main break causes a fire truck to sink into a Valley Village street (more photos here) | Photo by JeremyRyan via Flickr


A water main break causes a fire truck to sink into a Valley Village street (more photos here) | Photo by JeremyRyan via Flickr
With two major water main breaks over the last week (plus about three more notable ones), the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is in the hot seat, so to speak. The City Council looked into the issue yesterday and in a statement Councilman Tom LaBonge says he does not want any more surprises.

“We had two extreme incidents over the weekend, but smaller leaks are occurring all over the city, several in my district alone," LaBonge said. "If one of those leaks is going to cause a flood, I want to know so that we can take precautionary measures now.” That's probably easier said than done, but we can prepare for one thing: 200 of the 1,400 water main leaks/breaks that occur each year are major in some form. Summer hasn't ended yet.

In an editorial, the Daily News also opines in why this is happening:

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City Hall has long used the Department of Water and Power's coffers as a general slush fund, transferring millions of dollars a year in revenues from both water and power revenues. Costs for future maintenance and repair and upgrades of the system had ostensibly been worked into water and power rates so that there would be an adequate fix-it fund. But instead of saving that money or using it to replace pipes dating back to the days that L.A. was a dusty backwater town and the Valley mostly farms and orchards, the revenues have been systematically siphoned off to shore up City Hall's spending habits.