Doing the math about broken water mains

Dallas’ Only Daily Newspaper has reported that all this cold weather has increased the number of broken water mains in the city. The story says that, typically, there are four or five water main breaks a week. In the week or so of the cold snap, we had 105 main breaks — 60 percent of which the city blames on cold weather. So why did the other 40 or so break? Which, of course, is still eight times normal.

There are three explanations for this. First, the water department official quoted in the story got his math wrong. Second, the reporter writing the story got his math wrong. Third, and what I’m really afraid of, is that the city’s infrastructure is so old and decrepit that the math is right and the numbers have as much to do with aging water mains as they do with freezing temperatures.



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  • cliffie

    If you read the story a little closer, the 4 or 5 number was per day, not per week. Which makes the rest of the math [almost] work out.