Dear Member,

Despite the best efforts of your Group Water Scheme, many householders and farmers were seriously inconvenienced over the past winters as water pipes and tanks froze solid resulting in leaks and burst pipes in attics and farmyards. While your Group Scheme is happy to provide advice where such problems occur, members should realize that all pipework and fittings from the meter box at the water main to the point of use are solely their responsibility.

Conditions may not be as severe this year but it is better to be prepared. Here are some tips that you may find useful in the event of a freeze up.

o Locate your stop cock. (This is usually under the kitchen sink) You will need to know where it is in order to switch the mains off in case a pipe bursts. If there is none have a plumber install one.

o Locate your water mains meter box (usually outside your front boundary at the roadside) and if possible cover with insulating material.

o Test and locate the valves inside your house (normally in the hot press).

o Where possible keep buildings warm, have central heating come on at regular intervals or set at a constant low level. Leave attic door slightly ajar. Heater in attics should be designed for the purpose and fitted by a professional in order to avoid fire hazards.

o If premises are going to be left unoccupied for a period with no heating, ensure that someone is tasked with checking the property for burst pipes. You might consider turning off the water at the stop cock and draining the attic tank before leaving

o Do not leave taps running. A flowing tap will cost you lots of money, empty the reservoir and leave everybody without water.

o Pipes under concrete and tarmac need to be buried deep to protect from frost. Pipes buried under clay do not freeze as quick.

o Protect all exposed pipe work, cisterns, tanks and taps in unheated areas with water proof foam lagging or insulation.

o In so far as possible farmers should have at least one day’s storage at their premises.

o Farmers should insulate pipes in cattle sheds and consider installing a single valve that will turn off field connections in the vicinity of the farm yard.

o Water to out farms should be turned off at the individual meter box as soon as cattle are housed for the winter.

o You should have the telephone number of your local plumber handy in case of emergency. Where you suspect a leak, call a plumber without delay and have it located and fixed.

o Under no circumstances should blow lamps or boiling water be used to defrost meters. Such practice increases the risk of prolonged water loss to your neighbors as well as to your own home.

o If it freezes it will also thaw. Land owners are especially advised to walk their lands and check for leaking pipes after the thaw.

As we now buy all our water from Glan Agua Ltd members will be liable for the cost of any water that passes through their meter regardless of the circumstances – including a severe weather event. If your water freezes outside the meter you should contact your local member of the water board. This is a community scheme so remember to keep an eye on your neighbors and assist them if you can.

Finally, on behalf of the water board, let me wish each and every one of you all the very best of health and happiness for Christmas.