Icy weather freezes hundreds of water pipes, meters across Netherlands

Amsterdam frozen pipe
An Amsterdam city worker walks past a frozen drain pipe in the center. March 1, 2018Photo: NL Times

Technicians of Dutch drinking water companies have their hands full today. The icy weather resulted in water pipes and water meters freezing in hundreds of places across the Netherlands, AD reports.

The phones at Vitens, the largest drinking water company in the Netherlands, are ringing non stop, a spokesperson said to the newspaper. "By 11:15 this morning we already received 579 phone calls, considerably more than usual. The icy east wind in combination with the frost causes a lot of damage."

Evides, which supplies drinking water to Rotterdam and Zeeland among others, also received around 500 calls this morning. "Ten to 12 times as much as normal. All available technicians are at work", a spokesperson said. Limburg water company WML received dozens of calls, 1Limburg reports. Brabant Water received a few calls, but not much more than usual. 

Customers will have to cover the costs of most frost damage, according to AD The water companies therefore have tips for customers to prevent damage. Make sure the room containing the water heater stays warm and cover the water meter with a blanket or bubble wrap, Evides advises. Insulate water wells. Shut the water to outside taps off, and make sure the taps are empty. Set the thermostat at no lower than 10 degrees Celsius. Make sure the central heating pump is running and set the boiler water temperature to at least 50 degrees Celsius.