Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DC Water and Sewer Authority: response and rectification of water main breaks

In the mid 1990s, I remember a water main break on the 100 block of K Street NE that took more than 8 months to get fixed, gushing huge amounts of water continuously for the entire period.  Of course, that was back when Marion Barry was mayor.

I do report water main breaks and leaks that I notice when I walk or cycle around the city.

DC Water (WASA) misting tent, Adams Morgan Day Street FestivalI have written about DC WASA, now branded as DC Water, a few times, as an example of forward and innovative operation:

- DC Water Authority good idea: free water bottle refills

- How do you "reform" a crumbling sewer line? Or raise sponsorship dollars to fund parks?

You can't wish away the need to upgrade aging utility infrastructure

Today, I had an experience that for a DC Government agency (although DC WASA is semi-independent) is unprecedented.

I reported a water leak this morning, using the online reporting form.

They just called me to confirm the receipt of the information (although I did get an automated email response with a tracking number after the original report) and to get more details about the location, before dispatching an inspector and repair team.

That's an actual response within four hours of reporting the problem, which I think is pretty remarkable.

On our neighborhood e-list we've discussed the difference between "response" and "resolving" in terms of elected and appointed government officials.  My Councilmember's office constantly responds to citizen complaints as expressed on the listserv, but in my personal experience they never resolve anything that matters to me.

I can think of two specific unresolved matters.  One dates to 2008 and the other to 2012.

I don't care so much about "expressed concern" as much as I care about results.

Since she's running for mayor, I think that these data points are relevant to decisions about who to vote for.



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