“We have infrastructure that’s at the end of its life,” city leaders told KPRC 2 Investigates for our “DRAINED” investigation into City of Houston water issues

Months before this Houston water crisis the KPRC 2 Investigates team started digging into issues with the Houston Water Department. Investigator Amy Davis is leading our investigation into issues that have water customers feeling drained.

We noticed an uptick in complaints from Houston water customer complaints about a year ago. These concerns were about everything from inaccurate bills, faulty meters and dirty water. We asked for interviews with the City of Houston almost daily since early September looking for answers for customers who’d been put off and told they just had to pay their bills.

KPRC 2 Investigates water bill issues in Houston. Old technology means some meters often read wrong. The City is in the process of replacing the parts to get this issue corrected. (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

After multiple requests for interviews, KPRC 2 Investigates gets answers

When Amy finally confronted the Mayor Slyvester Turner at a public event earlier this month a spokesperson agreed to grant us a one-on-one interview with the Director of Public Works Carol Haddock. It was only then that we were able to get some answers.

Amy: “What’s going on?”

Carol Haddock: “There’s a number of things going on.”

This interview was back on November 8th but it was the first time the city acknowledged issues impacting customers and our water.

Carol Haddock: “Like every company in the City of Houston and nationwide, we struggled to find enough good employees to fill our positions. Our vacancies in our call center. We’ve been as high as 50% vacancies over the last year and a half.”

Carol Haddock: “We have infrastructure that’s at the end of its life. And we’re seeing that we’re not getting reads as regularly as we could.”

Haddock was referring to the remote meter reading infrastructure that she said is only providing accurate reads for about 60% of water customers each month. Haddock also talked about the infrastructure from the 90s and why there are issues with it. But we are hearing from many of you with similar and new complaints about broken water mains, leaking for weeks and low water pressure issues across Houston well before Sunday’s power outage.

KPRC 2 Investigates wants to hear from you

We are staying on top of this investigation. If you have messaged us, we are reaching out soon.

You can see all of our ‘DRAINED’ coverage and submit your own concerns here.

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About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.