Waterline Breaks Plague Phoenix as City Struggles to Keep Up
Jessica Boehm reports that Phoenix is at a crossroads in dealing with its aging waterline infrastructure. The city has 7,000 waterlines, many of which will need to be replaced now or in coming decades. The city deals with 4,000 waterline breaks annually that cause street closures and traffic problems and waste large quantities of water.
But, the city does not have the funds needed to expand its pipe-replacement program. The city council recently voted to increase the water rate by 6 percent this year and again next year in order to raise $500 million to replace pipes as well as build new wells to access groundwater.
The city council was split. Opponents say low-income residents are going to be unfairly burdened by the rate hike and funding needs to come from other sources. But supporters argue that Phoenix has to be proactive about upgrading its water infrastructure or it will face a water supply crisis in the future.