How we're prepared

Last reviewed:

The impact of last month's cold weather

Our teams are continuing to work around the clock to stop leaks caused by January’s sustained freezing conditions. 
We’re fixing around 1,000 leaks a week on our 20,000-mile network of pipes and are making good progress across our region.
We’ve brought in extra staff and taken people off non-emergency work to respond to the high number of leaks we’ve had reported, and we will continue to do that until things are back to normal. In the meantime, our response times will continue to be slower than normal.
We know it’s frustrating for our customers to see water leaking, but we promise to get to them all as quickly as we can – prioritising the most disruptive ones first and then continuing to work our way through the list.
Our roadworks have to be coordinated with local highways authorities, or in some cases Transport for London, who have to approve road closures or traffic management such as temporary lights. This can sometimes also add to the time it takes us to get pipe repairs underway.

The recent milder weather will help to gradually warm up the water in our reservoirs and pipes , but it is likely to take at least two weeks for it to have an impact on the temperature of the water in the large reservoirs which supply the network. This means the water flowing through the pipes continues to be cold even when the air temperature is milder.

You can really help us by checking if we're aware of any leaks using our online tool. If the leak isn't there, please use our simple online form to report it.

Check our map to see the current status of reported leaks and report a new leak

Why are there more leaks when it's cold?

Leakage from our network increases in cold weather. When the temperature of the water going through our network drops due to freezing conditions, it makes the old cast-iron pipes contract. This pulls them away from their couplings with other pipes, resulting in millions of tiny gaps emerging through which water can escape.

In some cases, this flexing of the pipework leads to breaks along hairline weaknesses.

Gritting leaks

When the ground temperature drops below freezing we grit as many of our reported leaks as we can to try and keep everyone safe, but our message is to take care.

Also in this section

Prepare and protect your home What to do if your pipes freeze How to keep your drains clear