Los Angeles's aged water infrastructure, usually hidden under the streets and sidewalks, occasionally hits center stage, like last summer when water mains broke and flooded enormous sections of Sunset Boulevard near UCLA and later the Sunset Strip. Water cutbacks during droughts can be rough on pipes (the intermittent use stresses them out), but the root problem is LA's old pipes and how many of them are past due to be replaced with new ones. Using LADWP data, the LA Times has charted out LA's pipes and created interactive maps showing where water mains are breaking, how old the busted ones are, and where the most breaks happen.
The soggiest neighborhoods run the gamut: Woodland Hills, Beverly Crest, Bel Air, Westwood, Venice, Hyde Park, Mid-City, Beverly Grove, the Hollywood Hills, Hollywood, East Hollywood, Silver Lake, and Boyle Heights all had 100 leaks or more from 2010 to 2014. "Pipe age, soil quality, water pressure and leak history are key factors that contribute to leaky water mains," so those are the same factors that determine which replacements are prioritized over others. The LADWP's plan is to focus on replacing all the pipes that are in the worst condition (grade D and F pipes) by 2025. Grade D and F pipes account for about 6 percent of all the pipes in the system.