Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

So many water main breaks, so little time

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I stood by this East Kildonan watermain break looking to speak with passersby, to see if I could get some feedback on how the neighbourhood felt about their street becoming waterfront property.

Several people slowed down in their vehicles to speak with me, and almost all of them asked the same question- what is taking the city so long to fix this?

I reiterated the answer that the spokesperson at 311 had given to me, "Presently in the city there are about 50 water main breaks.  All they can do for the time being is to slow the flow." 

They control the water pressure so that the amount of lost water is reduced to a minimum.  "If we shut the water off completely then several houses will lose their running water".    

"Going for a walk is not what it used to be" said one cautious pedestrian.  This corner has been under construction for years.  The water main broke 100 feet from here in 2010.  It took until the fall of 2012 to get the pavement replaced.  The patchwork process is seemingly never ending.

One driver stopped to explain that he is a plumber so he is interested in why "it seems that they are just putting on Band-Aids."

Searching the Water and Waste Department section of the City of Winnipeg’s website puts the problem into perspective.  The site explains some of the details associated with water main breaks and the associated costs.

Winnipeg has, on average, one or two water main breaks per day and only four crews working on the repairs, which take at least 24 hours to complete- so it is little wonder why this particular corner has been flooded for over two weeks.

With the "Water Main Renewal Program" these breaks should begin to decrease over time. 

Replacing the old pipes that are subject to corrosion with PVC piping is already having positive effects.  Over the past 30 years the amount of breaks are down from 2,459 breaks in 1983 to about 400 in 2010.

Evan Comstock is a community correspondent for East Kildonan.

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