Getting Hosed in Buffalo

Imagine filling your bathtub and watching 41 percent of the water leak onto your bathroom floor. That’s what happens every day beneath the streets of Buffalo, according to a first-of-a-kind study that examines leaks in the aging water system. The city pumps 29.6 billion gallons of water each year. But nearly 12 billion gallons goes down the proverbial drain. Most of the water is lost through leaks and bursts in the city’s 900-mile maze of pipes… Another jolting discovery is that Buffalo only collects revenue for 46 percent of the water it pumps … Another 600 million gallons is stolen by water pirates who tamper with meters and take extreme measures to restore service after water has been turned off for nonpayment. This same water system has raised rates for metered customers by 64 percent in the past four years and increased flat-rate bills by 55 percent.

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