Water Main Breaks Aren’t Over

More money is needed to address the problem of broken water mains in the City of Houston. The drought caused thousands of breaks this summer and the Public Works Department is still trying to catch up.

At this time of year, there would normally be about 100 water main breaks in the City of Houston.

But this year isn’t normal. Right now there are about 300 water main breaks — and that’s a significant reduction from the height of the summer when the number exceeded 1,000 at one time. Public Works Staff Analyst Roberto Medina says the department has already repaired more than since June.

“We’ve had to reallocate the way our crews work. For example, if things were normal on a typical Fall season, restoration teams would be making restoration jobs. By restoration I’m referring to sidewalks and repairing curbs and placing grass — which all these are activities that take place after a repair. Some of that effort has had to be delayed so that emphasis and effort can be placed actually repairing water line breaks.”

City Council will consider an agenda item to approve an additional $500,000 to contract some of the work out to private companies and augment the city’s crews. Another $750,000 is up for consideration for emergency rentals for backhoes, excavators and other construction vehicles.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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