New numbers reveal amount of water lost in main breaks

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SAN DIEGO – San Diego has had its share of water main breaks, but now there’s a clear picture of just how much water is wasted.

“We lost about 12 million gallons of water last year,” said Mark Kersey. “That’s about what 100 homes use for water a year.”

Kersey is chair of the Infrastructure Committee for the San Diego City Council. He’s been collecting data on water main breaks as part of his preparation for the upcoming budget.

“Last year in 2014, we had 75 water main breaks, which is a little more than one a week.

According to the city’s Water Department, in 2014 there were 75 water main breaks, in 2013 there were 89 and in 2010 there were 131.

“There hasn’t been as many in recent years because the pipes are getting replaced,” said Arian Collins, spokesman for the Water Department.

The pipes blamed for the water main breaks are the old cast iron pipes that were part of the city’s original infrastructure.

“They’re only about 10 percent of the entire water main network of the city, but they account for 60 percent of the breaks,” said Kersey.

The 10 percent clustered mainly around downtown San Diego and nearby neighborhoods including Hillcrest, South Park, North Park and Normal Heights.

Plans are to replace smaller pipes by 2017 and larger ones by 2023.

Kersey wants to fast-track the plan.

“We’re talking about 7 or 8 years from now before we get them done and that’s a significant concern," he said.

He’s planning on asking to increase funding to replace the pipes, but he’s also pushing for more financial help from Sacramento.

“We lost about 12 million gallons of water last year -- we’re talking about clean drinking water -- just going down the storm drains. That’s significant, but even more when we’re in a drought.

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