Scottish Water Response to Thaw and Rise in Burst Pipes

18 December 2022
Our teams have spent the weekend responding to a surge of burst pipes and leaks as the subzero freeze turns into a rapid thaw.

Since Thursday monitoring systems have shown an additional demand of more than 100 mega litres a day (100 million litres) on the network – assessed as the result of broken pipes and leakage.

Over the past several days there has been a 100-150% increase in the number of confirmed bursts – the actual figure is likely to be much higher.

Teams across Scotland have been mobilised to respond to incidents, putting repairs in place and trying to reduce impacts on customers who have lost water supply at their taps.
Our squads have been out in communities spotting leaks and assembling repair teams as a priority. Areas impacted include Ayrshire, Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian and Stirling.

Kevin Roy, Customer Service General Manager, said: “The weather conditions this week have caused a significant impact on our supply network across the country.

“On top of the usual daily distribution of water and demand from customers, we’ve seen an additional 100 million litres a day flowing through the network and unfortunately that’s the result of leaks and bursts. The deep freeze has developed into a quick thaw with temperatures on the increase leaving some pipes cracked.

“Some bursts will be very visible and in publicly accessible places, others on private property which is the responsibility of the key holder or owner, and others will be much more challenging to locate. We would ask property owners, residents, keyholders and businesses to check their properties, including unoccupied buildings, for any sign at all of leaks or burst pipes. We can all collectively help reduce the amount of water being lost in the current conditions.

“We’re doing all we can to manage the situation as effectively as possible and trying to reduce disruption for customers. Our response is likely to extend well into next week as we approach the Christmas weekend.”

Customers are advised that Scottish Water’s customer contact centre is expected to be exceptionally busy and to avoid phoning in all but an emergency. Leaks can be reported on the utility’s website, where further winter advice on protecting pipes and property is available.

If a leak is discovered within the boundary of a property, householders are advised to seek the services of a registered plumber via SNIPEF or Watersafe.

Scottish Water’s Priority Services Register allows anyone with additional needs to receive support.