(NaturalNews) A water main pipe that burst recently in Los Angeles, California, occurred on Sunset Boulevard near the UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) campus. This 30-inch diameter pipe was almost 93 years old and had been connected to a pipe installed in the 1950s. That's where the rupture took place.
When it burst, it sent up a 30 foot gusher that flooded the immediate area with 20 million gallons of water before it could be shut down around 30 hours after it had burst.
At one point during the rupture, this main pipe was gushing out 75,000 gallons per minute. Because the UCLA campus is moderately hilly, several cars, 960, were trapped, with some completely submerged in the gulleys formed at the bottoms of campus hills.
Six facilities were damaged, and the most expensive damage may have been the Pauley Pavilion, the home of the famed UCLA Bruins basketball team.
Even though only 8 to 10 inches of water covered the floor, basketball court floors can become buckled and warped. Less than two years ago, that floor was renovated at a cost of $136 million, and now it will need to be repaired. There were no injuries, and utility customers were still supplied with water.
Getting water from elsewhere
Los Angeles was once a small desert town with very little water of its own until 1913. That's when engineer William Mulholland designed and created a 238-mile-long aqueduct that took 5,000 men five years to build. It was called the Owens River Aqueduct, and it wound up at the north end of the San Fernando valley in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles population exploded so rapidly that Mulholland realized the necessity of needing more water sources. He had 50,000 square miles of desert land surveyed to find the best route for an aqueduct to supply water from the Colorado River.
That route was used to construct the Colorado River Aqueduct, which was completed in 1941, after Mulholland's death. This aqueduct supplies most of Southern California's water today.
Infrastructure decay has been underway for some time now
Corporations that pollute with impunity are granted tax exemptions, while local, state and federal governments pick up the cleanup tab. The Pentagon spends lavishly on military expenditures to colonize and exploit other nations. But where's the dough for failing infrastructure?
The gusher described earlier resulted in millions of dollars worth of damage and repair costs. Most of those 960 cars had to be replaced. And water main gushers are not new to Los Angeles.
In 2009, there were several dozen breaks, one of which spouted a gusher that resembled Yellow Stone National Park's "Old Faithful" geyser in Wyoming. Many of the water pipes in the USA were built and installed before 1950, and the average age of such piping is 47 years.
Greg Kail of the nonprofit American Water Works Association explained, "Water pipes last a long, long time, but they don't last forever. There is a lot of pipe in the ground and there is an enormous expense, collectively, in replacing it."
The American Society of Civil Engineers reported last year, "Much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life." The estimated cost of replacing pipes in the coming decades could exceed $1 trillion. Maybe it's time to start allocating funds for this project.
According to the National Association of Water Companies, there are 240,000 waterline breaks a year. The more water main pipe replacements are put off, the more there will be serious water breaks with large water losses and greater mounting expenses for repairing them.