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Leakage rates rise as the sun shines

Pipe bursts are on the increase across the UK because of the extreme weather conditions water companies told NCE this week.
Thames Water, Anglian Water Services, Welsh Water and Southern Water Services, when approached by NCE, all reported increases in pipe bursts during July - some are up by as much as a third .Ironically the periods of greatest demand on water supply are also the periods of greatest difficulty for infrastructure.Extreme heat is causing the ground to dry and crack putting more stress on the pipes carrying water said former ICE Water Board chairman Graham Setterfield.A spokesman for Thames Water said 'it's fluctuations in temperature that cause the largest increase in bursts.'Days of baking heat dry and shrink the ground and then rapid cooling and rain cause it to swell, thereby increasing the amount of ground movement.A spokesman for the Met Office said the largest temperature fluctuation over a 24 hour period in July was 19 degC. It occurred in the middle of the month in three places, Suffolk, Wiltshire and Yorkshire.Setterfield explained that the older cast iron and ductile iron pipes easily account for the largest proportion of Britain's water lines but were not as flexible as the new plastic pipes being laid.Related links:Today's top stories

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