DWP Infrastructure Failures Not Rate Payers Fault


Nothing frustrated us more this week than watching 20 million gallons of water going down the drain unabated, and causing major damage to the UCLA campus and surrounding streets.

We are fairly certain our frustration was shared by many other Angelenos, not to mention anyone concerned about the state’s ongoing severe drought.

It’s hard to understand, much less accept, that instead of spending revenue on rebuilding our water infrastructure the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was forced to instead plow millions and millions of dollars into city coffers, and gave millions more to two union-run foundations whose work is still a mystery.

According to Fred Pickle, ratepayer advocate for the DWP, the department had hoped to get a 5% water rate hike in 2013-14, some of which would have gone to infrastructure  improvements, but the plan was dropped.

Our question is this: If our infrastructure is so aged, 80-100 years old as in this week’s break, why hasn’t there been a greater investment in repairing and replacing the city’s aging and vulnerable water pipes? Not just during the 2013-2014 years, but in decades prior as well?

It’s a classic case of kicking the can down the road. But it seems to us the road was a dead end.

We ratepayers have poured millions, billions into the DWP during the past century and we are entitled to know why the so-called experts at the DWP have not focused more on upgrading the city’s water delivery system over those years.

Repairing the severely depreciated condition of the city’s pipes is going to cost more than if they had been adequately and regularly maintained and replaced over the last 100 years.

Los Angeles’ poor ratepayers will probably now face bigger and faster rate increases, or be blamed for the water system’s failure.

Other than buying water needed to get us through the drought, DWP’s highest priority has to be infrastructure improvement.

We urge residents in other cities, and other water agencies to take note of what’s happening in Los Angeles and take steps to avoid the same crumbling path.

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