City heading towards record year for water main breaks
When you see the impact of the hot, dry summer on your lawn, the same impact is being battled several meters below the surface. The dry, brittle ground is causing shifting which impacts City water pipes and service connections. If the current trend continues, the number of water main breaks will exceed historical records.
“August and September are historically the months where we see the most breaks, but the City plans for this and is able to keep up with the repair work. This year is proving to be a challenge,” said Pat Wilson, Director, Water Works. “Where we would normally expect to have five or six leaks waiting for repair, there were 55 as of 8 a.m. August 23. We are averaging about seven new water breaks a day.”
When breaks are reported, City staff are dispatched to assess and prioritize. They put up safety barricades or arrange traffic restrictions, if required. Breaks are prioritized based on severity, whether residents are without service and how many are out of service due to a single break. The City will stop work on a lower impact break to go fix a higher impact one. Right now, the City is in a situation where all City crews may be assigned to priority breaks and cannot move until the repair work is completed. The City is constantly re-evaluating based on the latest information available. That is why we rely on residents to let us know if they see changing conditions, as the break may get worse quickly.
In addition to the City crews regularly allocated to the work of repairing water main breaks, the City has pulled crews off of Water Works capital construction and slowed down some of our other regular program work, like water main flushing, to redeploy these employees to assist in this effort.
“We continue to explore alternatives to meet the challenge. Our goal is to provide running water to each home or property affected as we redeploy City employees, work overtime and on weekends to fix the large number of breaks,” Wilson said. “These measures are allowing us to get more work done quickly and safely.”
We thank residents for their patience. When a water main or service connection break occurs, the City may take a variety of actions to ensure water is provided to households affected, including bringing in large water storage containers for the neighbourhood to draw from, delivering water through hoses connected to a water source or connecting water service between neighbours. Residents may see running water on the street. This decision is made to continue to provide water to affected homes until crews can get to the repair work.
Residents can help by calling if they have questions or concerns, reporting water leaks or changing conditions at an existing water main break. Please call Service Regina at 306-777-7000. Visit Regina.ca/waterbreak.