The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports there were 85 water main breaks in the city of Pittsburgh in January, an increase of 11 from the same month last year.
According to the news source, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority dealt with four or five breaks per day during the month.
Wayne Klotz, former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, told the paper residents not only in Pittsburgh, but all across the country can easily prevent water main breaks and conserve substantial amounts of water each year.
"In the U.S., people kind of believe cheap water is their right. There are very few cities that charge customers what it costs them to deliver water," Klotz told the paper. He added that, in addition to freezing temperatures, deferred maintenance of water infrastructures in homes is generally a considerable factor in water main breaks.
The Pittsburgh City Council implemented a 5 percent distribution service charge to all customers' water bills in 2009 in an effort to raise money to fix city and residential infrastructures. In 2011, the budget will reportedly be $6.3 million, PWSA water operations director Tom Palmosina told the newspaper.
According to the PWSA, water customers in the city will be paying 7 percent more for their bills in 2011 than last year, with a residential water charge of $8.08 per every 1,000 gallons used.