Soaring temperatures mean more water usage and more water main breaks


ST. LOUIS – The heat is on. And that means so is the water. Families are loving area pools and splash pads, like the one at Tilles Park in Ladue. But all the extra water usage means our pipes are getting a workout.

After a cool spring, the quick onset of big heat in June means residents are using more water to keep plants, pets, and themselves hydrated.

“Our peak pump-age over the weekend was about two-hundred and thirty million gallons through the system. So that’s about 50 to 60 million gallons more than what we’ve seen up to that point,” said Jeffrey Kaiser, the vice president of operations for Missouri American Water.

The higher volume of water means added pressure to the water system and straining aging pipes.

“It’s kind of like the wintertime breaks,” he said. “Temperatures have a lot to do with it. Pressures have a lot to do with it. So, we are seeing a spike in breaks right now.”

On Tuesday, we saw water main breaks along Patterson Road in Florissant, Lindbergh Boulevard in Creve Coeur, and in Crestwood along Watson. Missouri American Water crews were out making repairs as temperatures climbed towards 90 degrees. They needed to work quickly to minimize the impact to residents, but they also have to work smartly in the heat.

“Take some breaks. Get out of the heat. Make sure your stay hydrated. Some of these repairs will take ten to twelve hours or more so it is a long day for the crews,” Kaiser said.

You can help. Peak usage time for water is usually in the morning when people are irrigating their lawns, think four to seven am.

“If people could delay that timing of their lawns. And it’s amazing. It seems everybody waters their lawns the same day of the week,” Kaiser said. “Take a look at what your neighbors are doing. Try to move that to a different day.”

Kaiser says this time of year, they typically see five or six water main breaks a day. Recently, that has been about double due to the weather warming up.

Missouri American Water sources their water from the Missouri and Meramec rivers. The good news is that water supply is good despite the recent dry stretch.   

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