Although much of historical New Orleans is cause for celebration, the age of her water pipes is not.
More than half of the City’s 1,530 miles of water mains was installed before World War II. A third was installed before Prohibition.
The age of these water mains – some as old as 114 years or more – is a major contributor to the rate of failure that has become a regular problem across the City. To give residents a better understanding of the extent of the water system’s age, the Sewerage and Water Board (SWBNO) has published an interactive map of the distribution system. Search for your address to see the approximate age of the water mains that run beneath your street.
Depending on the material used, an average water main has a life expectancy between 75 and 100 years, according to the American Water Works Association, a leading educational and scientific organization founded to improve water quality and supply. Much of New Orleans is approaching or has surpassed that lifespan, as the map shows.
Improving the reliability of the water distribution system will be a major component of the Master Plan process that Executive Director Ghassan Korban plans to launch this year.
Please see the attached document for more information regarding New Orleans' aging water infrastructure.
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