San Jose Residents Frustrated About Water Main Breaks

By Nannette Miranda
|  Thursday, Apr 17, 2014  |  Updated 3:22 PM PDT
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Water main leaks in San Jose is anger San Jose residents who call it a waste during the drought.

Water main leaks in San Jose is anger San Jose residents who call it a waste during the drought.

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San Jose Water Main Break Lasts 2 Days, Frustrates Residents

The San Jose Water Company is under fire from frustrated residents who have been dealing with a water main leak that has lasted two days. Nannette Miranda reports.
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The San Jose Water Company is under fire from frustrated residents who had to deal with a water main leak that lasted two days.

Residents who live in the 400 block of Rosewood Avenue, near Santana Row, said the leak started out as a 3-inch crack on Sunday night. By Tuesday it had grown to at least 3 feet, with the affected streets bubbling with water and softening.

"It's very soft and mushy, so driving over it would definitely be out of the question," said Kaylyn Lehmann, whose driveway is next to the water main break. "And it's just sad not to just see the waste of water in drought, but also the cost of repairs go up so much."

Neighbors said they called San Jose water officials for days before they finally showed up to repair the leak Wednesday.

The San Jose Water Company, which serves 240,000 households and businesses, said it cannot get to every leak right away. On Tuesday, there were 223 leaks on the company’s repair waiting list.

John Tang of the San Jose Water Company said calls are prioritized.

"More severe leaks are given a higher priority and it can take many days to repair some leaks because of availability of personnel and the volume and severity of leaks in the system," Tang said.

But concerned customer Elizabeth Bertolohny told NBC Bay Area the company’s response was far from timely. Bertolohny said she reported water running down the streets in front of her family’s South San Jose apartment three weeks ago.

Bertolohny said she called San Jose water five times before crews finally showed up.

“We can’t waste water, but they can waste water - I don’t think that’s fair,” she said.

Bertolohny is just one of many San Jose residents who are concerned that water leaks in their neighborhood are not being fixed in a timely manner, leading to water wastage in the middle of a drought.

Water company officials say crews try to fix the biggest leaks first.

“We would love to have them all fixed instantly but we would have to have a much larger work force and that just wouldn’t be affordable to our customers - so we prioritize them,” said San Jose Water Company’s Andrew Gere.

View Nannette Miranda's report in the video above for more information.

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