Expensive new water pipelines needed in High Desert (July 12, 2015)

Nationwide gap in meeting maintenance needs continues to rise

While water pipelines are judged to have a useful life of 50 to 100 years, much of America’s infrastructure is falling behind recommended replacement and upgrade benchmarks, civil engineers say.

In the High Desert and elsewhere, pipeline replacements are annually scheduled at varying rates, depending on available funding and identified priorities.


A spotlight was cast on Southern California’s aging infrastructure in July 2014 when a 93-year-old Los Angeles Department of Water and Power pipe burst along Sunset Boulevard and flooded part of the UCLA campus, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and the loss of 20 million gallons of water, or enough to serve 155,000 people for a day, according to news reports at the time.

Aging infrastructure illustrates what some see as the failure of many agencies, particularly municipalities, to have properly invested in replacing infrastructure or even regular replacement programs, the Sacramento-based Water Education Foundation wrote in its Western Water magazine in 2012.


The private companies such as Golden State Water Co. and Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co. usually budget on a calendar-year basis, they said.

Apple Valley Ranchos serves much of Apple Valley and some of the unincorporated county area to the east with 467 miles of water mains. The water company has budgeted to replace six miles this year including improvements in valves, storage tanks and wells to ensure we meet state and federal requirements for water quality, AVR General Manager Tony Penna said in an email.

Our overall renewal and replacement program budget for 2015 is $8 million and of that almost $5 million is allocated for main replacement, Penna writes. Over the past five years we have invested nearly $35 million to ensure reliable service.

For Yermo Water Co., which was recently acquired by AVR, the company has budgeted to replace one mile of the system’s 5.6 miles of water main pipeline in 2015. The budgeted cost is $514,000 for this year and $190,000 in 2016, according to AVR Manager of Engineering Services Greg Miles.


Source: Gary Brodeur, Daily Press