As Detroit struggles for resources, city water pours down the drain from ravaged pipes

In an empty house on Chalmers Street in Detroit, a pulse of water spews every few seconds from a vandalized pipe.

It's one of many leaks wasting water and money in a bankrupt city that struggles to provide basic services to its 700,000 residents.

With more than 30,000 vacant structures spread across Detroit, officials have no way of tracking such leaks. Many are caused by aging pipes that burst or metal thieves who've ripped them out, leaving the water to flow — sometimes for years.

Officials say they have no idea how much is being lost or retreated as it drains back into the system.

Crews have whittled the backlog of reported leaks from about 350 to a couple dozen. But those are only the leaks they know about.