I was once trial counsel for the water authority of a Mexican city seeking damages for delay in the mapping of a water system serving three million customers. I learned that most water entering the pipes never reached consumers because the patchwork system was riddled with leaks. The leaks were difficult to repair because the water authority didn’t know where its pipes were buried!

Repair crews made Swiss cheese of streets, but the massive leakage limited water service to just a few hours a day. Those who could afford it erected tanks to hoard water. The rest suffered. Until Servicios de Agua y Drenaje learned where its pipes lay, staunched the leaks and addressed local hoarding, the system stayed broken. ¡Ay, caramba!

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