ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46)- This week's 25 hour or so water crisis had us putting the Department of Watershed Management back under the microscope.

After all, their mistake is projected to cost the economy as much as $250 million dollars, according to officials.

The long troubled agency is just the latest arm of the city to fail; following the airport blackout of 2017 and the cyber breach of 2018.

It raises renewed questions about the city's infrastructure.

And we've got a city audit to back that up. Specifically, at the water department.

In April of last year, city auditors found, "aging infrastructure" to be causing 30 percent of the city's annual water production to be lost through leaks or mismanagement. 

That's led to a handful of ongoing reforms, said the department in response.

And just this past October, another critical audit, finding, the department has been failing to 'track and monitor' their response times to customer complaints regarding water quality.

The department agreed with the findings and pledged compliance.

We also learned, the city auditor identified the department as having the second highest risk score; highlighting the critical nature of its operations.

The department serves 1.2 million people each day.

Finally, we honed in on leadership at the department.

Commissioner Kishia Powell, who came to Atlanta two and a half years ago, left the city of Jackson Mississippi's Department of Public Works, in what the local newspaper called at the time, an "understaffed department with ongoing issues at its water treatment facilities..."

Yesterday, Powell admitted workers tripped a shut off system they didn’t fully understand.

"We've not experienced this particular alarm before. The team had not," she said in a press conference.

To be fair; some of the findings in the 2017 audit draw from data analyzed before the current commissioner took office. And as mentioned, reforms are underway and may be accomplished.

We should also note, the audits found the department does meet standards for routine water testing.

We reached out to the watershed department today to give them a chance to further respond to those audits in detail. When we get a statement, we will post it here.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Chief Investigative Reporter

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