I am new to this forum (not new to Sim City 4 )
I would like to share some of my strategies that I use when I build a city.
I start off with a "supply" city that is neighboring the city that I want to develop. I put tons of coal plants and water pumps there, along with a huge landfill. Also, I add a subway station. (Appropriate connections are made with city I want to develop)
I quit out of the "supply" city and go to the city I want to develop. I make deals with the "supply" city - export all garbage, import all power and water (pollution does not carry over). You save lots of room, pollution, money, and the hassle of replacing your plants often. Note: Importing coal power is cheaper than Oil, Natural gas, etc. plants built in your city.
Water pipes: There is a way to "trick" your city into running on half the water, saving thousands of dollars a month. When a water pipe is laid down, you will see a surrounding area turn blue which shows the range of the water supply. Lay the next water pipe inside of this blue area. Then lay the next in the blue area of the new pipe, and so on. This way the city can run on half the water and still develop. (When the water supply is overused, the water pressure is reduced and therefore the range of water extending from the pipe. Using this method, however, the pipes are close enough so that all buildings in the city within the piped area will have water even when the supply is down). Buildings will still build in the city even though the water demands to the deals/pumps are over capacity. The water pumps will wear out quicker, and you will have to replace them more often, which is why I strongly recommend importing all water from the "supply" city.