The city’s water system was put in place by William Mulholland, the self-taught engineer who built the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the revolutionary, gravity-flow system of pipes and channels that carries water from mountains and valleys more than 200 miles away.

Doesn’t this detail in some way explain this statement?

The number of breaks – 36 during the first three weeks of September – isn’t unusual for a city the size of Los Angeles, said James McDaniel, senior assistant general manager with the Department of Water and Power. Rather it’s the severity of the breaks, including one that created a sinkhole so big it nearly swallowed a fire truck.