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Scottish Water workers have been battling against the elements this week to ensure it maintains normal services to customers or restore them as quickly as possible if there has been disruption.
Staff the length and breadth of the country are working around the clock in challenging weather conditions – with heavy snow and temperatures as low as -17C – to keep water supplies to customers running and the waste water network operating normally.
The number of burst water main repairs carried out in the past week has doubled compared with normal levels at this time of year.
Teams have been out breaking ice at intakes in the Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber and, where the ice has been too thick to break, using tankers to bring additional water in and maintain normal supplies.
Heavy snowfall has also created challenging issues for accessing a number of water treatment works, some in very remote locations, and Scottish Water has had to employ contractors to clear access roads. Heavy snow has sometimes made it difficult to locate bursts.
Freezing temperatures, coupled with the need to maintain safe distancing and adhere to other Covid-19-restrictions, have also made the work more challenging and time-consuming.
Kes Juskowiak, Scottish Water’s water operations general manager, said: ‘Like all essential public service providers, the weather is certainly making our job more difficult but we are doing absolutely everything possible to ensure normal supplies are maintained wherever we can.
‘We are experiencing a number of very challenging circumstances but Scottish Water is rising to those challenges and our dedicated and determined staff are using all the resources, equipment and technology available to ensure that, wherever possible, it’s business-as-usual for our customers.’
Meanwhile, Scottish Water is reminding householders and businesses across Scotland to ensure water pipes on their property are protected during the winter to prevent burst pipes and flooding in freezing temperatures and reduce the risk of damage to properties and contents.
The public water and waste water organisation advises anyone with a home, business premises or holiday home to take action to heat, insulate and protect their properties, whether the property is old or new.
Follow it on Twitter @scottish_water and Facebook: facebook.com/scottishwater
and use hashtag #SWwinter
Customers can also sign up to receive free texts (SMS)* to keep up to date about work or service updates, such as having no water supply, in your area – please text ‘Update’ with your postcode to 82228.
For more info and T&Cs visit www.scottishwater.co.uk/textterms.