Saturday, April 12, 2008

Broken Tubes

You know, it always puzzles me why they can't funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to their corrupt pals to have them do something necessary.

cross the New York region, as 100-year rain events seem to arrive every other year or so, residents have grown accustomed to street and basement flooding. But here in Wawarsing, an Ulster County hamlet of crystalline streams and forests on the southern edge of the Catskill Mountains 80 miles northwest of New York City, yards are soggy even in fair weather. And homeowners like Mrs. Smith are wondering whether an aqueduct a fourth of a mile from their neighborhood is to blame.

It is the Delaware Aqueduct, a water tunnel that runs deep underground and delivers about half of New York City’s drinking water. The city’s Department of Environmental Protection has acknowledged that two sections — one in Wawarsing and the other near the Hudson River in Orange County — of a 45-mile-long stretch of the aqueduct known as the Rondout-West Branch Tunnel have been leaking for two decades.

Using dye tests, a robotic submarine and, most recently, divers, city officials have long studied the two leaks, which are estimated at 14 million to 36 million gallons a day. The department says it is committed to repairing the cracks in the aqueduct, but concedes that it will be tricky. Removing the water from the tunnel to make repairs could jeopardize its structural integrity — not to mention stress the city’s water supply.