Houston's water pipes are leaking more this summer
Houston is grappling with more than four times more water line leaks than normal this summer due to extreme drought gripping the Lone Star State.
Driving the news: Houston Public Works reports 483 active leaks in queue to be fixed across the city's 7,000 miles of water lines.
- That's compared to roughly 75 to 100 leaks the city deals with on a normal basis, says Drew Molly, director of Houston's drinking water operations.
Yes, but: The number still pales in comparison to the nearly 1,200 active leaks during the height of the 2011 drought.
What's happening: The lack of substantial rainfall this summer is drying up the region's clay-based soil, making it easier for the ground to shift, which then cracks brittle pipes or disjoins one from the other.
- "It's kind of a hard fact of living in Houston," Molly said.
How it works: Each repair only takes about three hours to complete, but the city is still behind.
- Crews have to wait at least 48 hours before fixing a leak to make sure they won't disrupt underground utilities.
- Sometimes, workers have to wait on special tools or parts — which often delays repairs.
- Of note: Houston has hired three contracting teams to help deal with the workload this summer.
Get involved: To report an active leak, call 311 or make a report online. Within 24 hours, a Public Works employee will look at the leak and determine how to prioritize repairs.
- "If the leak is bad, we want to be on it immediately," Molly said.
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