It's that time of year again, where many folks find themselves without running water, but it's not because they didn't pay their utility bill. Water main leaks become relatively common during the summer months, and the dry weather may be to blame.
"In the summer time, most of our water leaks are going to be because of old pipes and shifting ground conditions," says Wayne Lisenbee, the Assistant Director for the city of Abilene's Water Utilities office.
When the soil becomes extremely dry for a prolonged period of time, the ground contracts, causing shifting within the dry soil. This chain reaction can easily affect water pipes, increasing pressure, stress and causing portions of a water line to crack. But there is some good news.
"We're significantly below the number of leaks we had last year. Last year's climate conditions were worse than what we're having right now with higher temperatures and less rainfall," Lisenbee tells us.
Just last summer alone, the city of Abilene repaired a total of 259 water leaks from June through August, with 20 of those leaks occurring over one weekend. As for this summer, so far the city has repaired 117 water leaks. That's less than half of the repairs that had to be made by this time last year.
Also, Lisenbee says, "Abilene has been fairly progressive in replacing older water mains and so we try to stay ahead of the aging infrastructures as much as we can."
And while most water main breaks happen during frigid winter weather, summer time across the Big Country has clearly made for some of the hottest and driest conditions, both in the air and underground.
The city's water utilities office says that if you notice water rising to the surface and there has been no recent rainfall, call their hotline at 676-6000 and let them check to see if a water main leak has occurred.