Trillions Of Gallons Leak From Aging Drinking Water Systems In US Cities

"PRICHARD, Ala. — Water bubbles up in streets, pooling in neighborhoods for weeks or months. Homes burn to the ground if firefighters can’t draw enough water from hydrants. Utility crews struggle to fix broken pipes while water flows through shut-off valves that don’t work.

For generations, the water infrastructure beneath this southern Alabama city was corroding, cracking and failing — out of sight and seemingly out of mind — as the population shrank and poverty rose. Until it became impossible to ignore.

Last year residents learned a startling truth: Prichard loses over half, sometimes more than 60%, of the drinking water it buys from nearby Mobile, according to a state environmental report that said “the state of disrepair of Prichard’s water lines cannot be overstated.” Residents and experts say it also imposes a crippling financial burden on one of the state’s poorest cities, where more than 30% live in poverty."

Tammy Webber reports for the Associated Press March 4, 2024.

Source: AP, 03/06/2024