# 2012 Barcelona
Water systems in the United States are suffering from increasing failure rates associated with distribution system components reaching the end of their useful lives. An internet search using the terms “water main breaks” reveals daily occurrences that not only impact ability to provide service but create safety related conditions adjacent to the break site and force water purveyors to react in a crisis mode rather than with a systematic proactive approach thereby managing cost and replacing facilities before they fail. Unfortunately, a “run to fail” mode is common and system operators have not increased water rates to levels that will support increased reliability. Palo Alto is one of the few communities that recognized the need to replace aging infrastructure and subsequently started an accelerated program to address this issue over twenty years ago. Fortunately, City Council supported the recommendation to increase funding related to capital improvement of the water, gas and wastewater systems in the early 1990s when adopting the accelerated main replacement programs. This increased level of capital investment has resulted in the replacement of 50% of the natural gas, 21% of the water and 33% of the wastewater systems in the past twenty years.