What happens to our mains in dry weather

It is well known that water mains can burst during cold weather. But did you know this can also happen during periods of really dry weather?

We’ve collect data on rainfall in our area since 1846 and we are currently experiencing one of the driest periods in that time. And it is predicted to last for at least a few more weeks. Don’t get us wrong, we love the sun, and we are not looking at a hosepipe ban this year. But we are seeing a lot of burst mains and that is due to high demand on the network as people are using so much water at the moment.

Why do burst happen during dry weather?

A lack of rain, obviously, causes the ground to be very dry. And at the moment it really is very dry. This high temperature causes the land to harden as well which makes the soil around our mains very hard.

During high demand periods, so when lots of customers in the same area are running their taps, watering the garden, or filling up a paddling pool season – We actually call this summer period ‘paddling pool season’ as in our control room you can see when everyone starts filling up their paddling pools – the pressure within the water main is increased.  When this happens we see slight movements in the main, not much, not a millimetre or two. But this repeatedly happening over a period of time causes the main the burst as it cannot move much in the hard, dry soil.

What can we do about it?

Well there isn’t much we can do about the weather. And to be honest, we don’t get summers like this very often, so we don’t want to do anything about it. But we can control the amount of water we use.

Find out more about our current reservoir levels during the summer here.