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If Conserving Water Caused 101 City Pipes to Burst, Officials Now Say It's Time to Rethink How We Save Water

The DWP dealing with a main break in Spetember 2009 (Photo by Gamma Infinity via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Water conservation strategies implemented last year are considered the main reason for a series of unprecedented 101 major water main breaks last summer and fall, and now city officials say they are open to making changes in the water conservation program, according to LA Now.Scientists examining the system following the series of line ruptures found that limiting use of watering devices like sprinklers to just two days a week proved to be a burden on the city's pipes, "causing fluctuations in water pressure that strained them to the bursting point." Their report explains:

on days when watering was allowed, water pressure in the pipes dropped. On days when watering wasn't allowed, pressure increased and "accelerated the metal fatigue failures of aged and corroded cast-iron pipes."

In response to the report, and the urging of the scientists that the conservation plan be re-thought, the "Water and Power Commission asked its staff to come back with a look at the issue -- and potential changes in the ordinance -- before the summer." With our city budget so strapped, we can't afford to lose any more fire trucks to massive street-swallowing sinkholes caused by burst water lines.