Record-setting heat causing infrastructure problems around Houston

August 29, 2011 8:02:15 PM PDT
The record-setting heat is causing problems to pop up all over the city. From water main breaks to sidewalks and streets buckling, Houston's mayor says it's turning into a real public safety issue.

Water main breaks have been a common sight around Houston. In fact, there are 927 that are in need of repair right now, and the city says the problem isn't going away anytime soon.

Public works crews are in all parts of the city Monday, fighting to try to keep up with the pace of water main breaks. Breaks are on the rise because of the severe drought.

As of August 25, the city has repaired 5,014 water main breaks this year. The strain on older pipes is severe, and has even caused problems with low water pressure in several Houston-area schools.

Because of our lack of rain, Houston is drawing water it owns from Lake Conroe and the city is under Stage 2 water restrictions, with homeowners asked to water during certain hours on assigned days.

The heat is also causing potholes, roads to buckle and dead trees to fall.

Speaking exclusively on Eyewitness News on Monday morning, Houston Mayor Annise Parker told us the problems are something we are going to have to get used to.

"On a normal, bad summer day, I have 200. [Now,] I have more than 900 water main leaks, and I just don't have enough crews. We're running every crew we have nights and weekends. We have all the private sector crews we have, but there are other problems that are going to come," Parker said.

For now, the mayor says the water and sewer rate hikes from last year are paying for the water main break repairs. There is no word on if we face another hike.

Anyone who sees watering during restricted days or hours is asked to call 3-1-1. The city has received around 300 notices and is now issuing warnings for first time offenders, while second time offenders face a fine of $150.

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