Any one break is a random occurrence. Frequent breaks are problematic, because:
- Residents don’t like shutdowns, boil orders, or street and driveway repairs.
- The service reputation of a municipality is compromised.
- Money spent on manpower and materials drains the budget.
- Crew safety requires extra training time and specialized equipment.
- Written notifications are burdensome to the administrators.
- A water system’s limits are tested unnecessarily.
- Water is wasted.
In the United States:
- There are 237,000 water main breaks annually.
- Each day, 6 billion gallons of drinkable, usable water is lost to pipeline failure.
- At the current rate, it will take 300 years to replace water infrastructure.
- Over the next 20 years, it will cost at least $300 billion to replace pipelines.
In North America:
- North America has nearly 1,000 breaks per day.
- In Canada, it has been estimated that 80% of unaccounted water is due to breaks.
- Canadian research teams have stated that the frequency of main breaks is the key indicator of a system’s physical integrity.
Across the Globe:
- Two-thirds of the world is water; but less than 1% is drinkable.
- One in five people lack access to safe drinking water.
- More than 2.2 million people, mostly in developing countries, die each year from diseases associated with poor water and sanitary conditions.
- Destructive forces attack water systems creating stress and increasing the risk of pipe failure.
- Researchers agree that approximately 60% of all contamination in public water systems occurs during the repair of a main break.
- Negative pressures invite intrusions of contaminants.
- Nearly all breaks show evidence of progressive failure, or signs of long-term wear and tear.