Southern Water is bracing itself for a spate of burst water mains as the freezing conditions thaw.
Freezing weather causes the ground in which water mains are buried to contract and, as it thaws, this can put pressure on pipes causing them to burst.
This not only wastes water but can cause flooding and interrupt supplies to customers’ homes.
During the last big freeze in 2010, Southern Water dealt with 315 burst water mains across the region in just one month.
John Young, Water Distribution Manager, said: “It’s vital we continue to operate during severe weather so we can supply the 551 million litres of water our customers need every day.
“We know what to expect so have been planning to ensure we can respond quickly to incidents and carry out repairs, but we would like to ask our customers to do their bit by reporting any burst or leaking pipes to our freephone leakline on 0800 820 999.”
Pipes in homes are also at risk of bursting so Southern Water is also urging customers to take care of their own pipes indoors, which can freeze or burst during cold weather, causing extensive damage.
Tips to help prevent burst pipes at home include:
• Repair dripping taps and turn them off
• Ensure tanks and cisterns are lagged – but not under the water tank. If they aren’t lagged, open the loft door to let heat circulate
• While away, leave the central heating on low or drain down the system
• The best lagging for pipes is pre-formed tubular insulating material, available from most DIY stores
• If a pipe bursts, turn off the stop tap and central heating boiler and call a plumber
For more advice on how to prevent burst pipes at home or advice on how to report a burst leading to temporary loss of water supply or water pressure, log on to
www.southernwater.co.uk or alternatively, anyone experiencing loss of supply or pressure can also call our technical call centre on 0845 278 0845.
If you need to report a leak, please telephone our leakline on 0800 820 999.