412 leaks currently in Houston's 7,600 miles of piping, stats show

Chaz Miller Image
Friday, April 7, 2023
Houston Public Works playing catchup with water leaks
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The city of Houston is still playing catchup as they look to repair water main leaks around the city.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The city of Houston is still playing catchup as it works to repair leaks in the city's 7,600 miles of water infrastructure.

In a presentation to the city council's transportation, technology, and infrastructure committee, Houston Water Director Venus Price discussed how the 2021 water-rate increase has helped the city tackle that problem this fiscal year.

"Thanks to the much-needed rate increase, we're able to get some projects scoped, funded, and underway," she said.

The city council has approved more than $28 million in the last year for outside vendors to fix leaks, as the issue of leaking pipes has gotten worse over the last year.

In January, statistics from the city showed there was an average of more than 800 leaks per day in the city of Houston. It's an issue officials say was due to the combination of last summer's drought and December's freeze.

SEE ALSO: 'It's a lot:' There are hundreds of active water leaks in Houston, costing everyone money

Those same stats show that number largely stayed between 100 and 200 per day from July 2019 through June 2022. The public works department told ABC13 there are currently 412 leaks in the city's water infrastructure.

Price said the goal is to fix leaks in eight days or fewer once they've been identified, but the number is currently between 10 and 14 days.

"In atypical times - drought, freeze, and staffing issues - those response times will trend up," she said.

She told the committee she hopes the repair time goes back to normal by this summer.

Additionally, at the same meeting, officials discussed its water-conservation campaign known as "Give Water a Break."

It was launched softly last year, but they're fully rolling it out in time for this summer.

The campaign uses edgy slogans, bright colors, and black-and-white clipart to make people cognizant of the virtues of saving water.

"We wanted something that would catch the viewer's attention," Lacie Ulrich of Houston Water said. "Something edgy, something kind of cool."

Slogans on the signs include things like "Your Ex Ain't Fixable; Leaks Are: Give Water A Break," and will soon be seen in media spots, city-run social media accounts, electronic signs, and at major events where booths are present.

They hope these signs make people aware during modern events such as a big drought, but also over the long term as the population increases across the city and the state.

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