Oversight Committee questions Austin Water Director over leaking pipes

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Water Oversight Committee met for the first time Thursday, and referenced KXAN’s recent investigation on utility water pipe breaks.

Last week KXAN reported the city lost more than 6.1 billion gallons in drinking water in 2018, costing ratepayers millions of dollars.

“I would really like to get some better understanding and some answers about why we’re leaking the amount that we are and what we should take away from that,” said Council Member Alison Alter, who called for the creation of the committee earlier this year.

The comments came during a report on the state of the utility from Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros.

The committee tabled the full discussion on infrastructure issues and improvements until its next meeting in February.

“I think that’s worth more of a standalone discussion in the future of how we’re managing water loss,” Meszaros told the committee.

Meszaros also gave the committee several updates on future Austin Water projects.

He said in January the utility plans to purchase and use copper sulfate to kill Zebra mussels in the city’s water system.

Over the next few years, the utility plans to invest $80 million in a “digital metering system” that Meszaros says will detect leaks in real time.

The system that Meszaros called “Advanced Metering Infrastructure” will go before council in January or February of next year.

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