Two times in two years.
That’s how many times that Orange Water and Sewer Authority has been forced to shut down water in Chapel Hill in the past two years. Two water main breaks in two years. Two school cancellations and thousands of people left without access to water in Orange County.
Such failures from essential government institutions should be of significant concern to all. Utilities are one of the essential services that civilians rely upon local government to provide — yet OWASA seems to be unable to provide a consistent supply of clean and safe water to the citizens that pay for it.
Yet, it is not clear that the fault lies on OWASA itself.
It is no secret that United States infrastructure is failing and has been for some time. The American Society of Civil Engineers graded the state of American infrastructure at a D+ level in 2017. The state of our drinking water supplies was rated even worse, a D. Our pipes are beginning to age, there are 240,000 water main breaks a year, we waste over two trillion gallons of water a year in these breakages.