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Increased water use stressing area systems

The heat continues to take its toll in Western New York, but as residents seek relief, the pressure builds on the infrastructure transporting fresh water across the region.

Town of Tonawanda Water Services Director Ken Maving knows this very well, still cleaning up behind a very visible pipe leak on Sheridan Drive a week-and-a-half ago.

That 16-inch line wasn't on the long-term replacement list.

He admits the town water system is being pushed because of demand but there is plenty of capacity and the system is holding up pretty well.

Bob Mendez is in the same situation.

He just provides more water as executive director of the Erie County Water Authority which is adding to its seasonal total of days where customers are drawing more than 100-million gallons of water a day.

"We are starting to push our network," said Mendez of the system that utilizes over 3,500 miles of pipe.

"As we speak, we do not having any leaks going on but over the weekend we experienced about a dozen leaks which is a little higher than the norm but nothing extraordinary.

Water operators says there can be problems as ground dries and shrinks, potentially affecting the support for water pipes.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.