"10 On Your Side" News, in Portsmouth, Virginia, recently reported that "Since Friday, Virginia Beach alone has fixed more than 30 water main breaks. Newport News had 10 over the weekend, Norfolk crews reported 11, and Portsmouth counts 16 breaks since this time last week." The breaks are occurring mostly on "older pipes" and the pipes are given "band-aid" repairs. Amazingly, these breaks are just a small fraction of the quarter of a million water main breaks that will occur in the United States this year.
These Hampton Roads area water main breaks have caused residents to lose water service and are jeopardizing emergency response. A water operations manager said, "Certainly, if a fire happens, you don’t want to tell the firemen that the water main broke and they can’t put out a fire."
During the New Deal era, WPA workers installed 357 miles of new water lines in Virginia. We could do the same today, and more, were it not for Republican and Tea Party politicians in Congress who are trying to starve the federal government of revenue (or, "starving the beast," as they like to describe it), thereby reducing federal assistance to the states. (See, e.g., "States Seek Alternatives For Highway, Bridge Funding," Associated Press, Huffington Post, February 21, 2015)