City loses 1/4 water a year

- San Angelo City Council members traveled to Bronte for a city workshop and special meeting Tuesday. The main topic of discussion at the day-long retreat was water and how to conserve it. Council members are even talking about replacing the city's water pipeline system.

The city Water Utilities Director, Dwain Morrison, told council members San Angleo loses a fourth of its annual water supply to leakage. Mayor Morrison said he had no idea.

"I had no idea. I had no idea. This is something that hit me out of the blue," stated
Morrison shocked.

This is Councilman Johnny Silvas' fourth term. In almost seven years, he said he's only heard the leakage issue mentioned once and that was in passing.

"Somebody vaguely mentioned it to me a while back; but, today is when we got the brunt of it. it's alarming and ... I mean.... 'cause if we're losing a quarter percent of our water to leakage.... that just tells us the infrastructure is shot," said Silvas.

The leakage comes from the old, 24 inch, iron galvanized pipes buried underground in North San Angelo. They connect several neighborhoods to the Water Treatment Plant and are at least 60 years old.

"It's 70-year-old pipes. 60-70.... it's the big pipes and it's the lines... the distribution lines that feed out of the water system," Morrison explained.

The pipe system could cost as much as 100 million dollars to replace. Silvas can hardly believe the project's price tag.

"Oh, really, for infrastructure," questioned Silvas.

At the rate the city's going, it will take 69 years to install new plastic pipes at a cost of 1.3 million dollars a year

"We're going to have to find a plan where we can start replacing these," finished Morrison.

Other water related-goals include a water conservation plan and diversified long-term water supply within the next ten years.

The most important goal on city council's list is reducing the amount of water wasted to 13 percent in a 5-year period.

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