Pipe thawings during Winnipeg winter drop from 2,417 to 7

Pipe thawings during Winnipeg winter drop from 2,417 to 7

A combination of Mother Nature's mild weather and efforts by the City of Winnipeg meant a stark reduction in the number of frozen water pipes this winter.

For the 2016-17 season, there were only seven cases of frozen pipes, according to a report submitted to the city's water and environment committee. That's down from thousands of cases just a few years before.

"Compared to a couple of winters ago when we had our worst year since '78-'79, this year was probably our mildest or lowest year ever," said St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes.

"We only had seven thawings of frozen pipes, which is down from 2,417 a few winters ago [2013-14]. So it's a much, much better record this year."

There were 271 pipes that needed to be thawed in 2014-15, followed by 14 pipes in 2015-16.                  

"We learned from our experience in 2013-14. We do more proactive stuff now," Mayes said.

"They've identified these frequent freezers, so they go out and try to anticipate those before they freeze up. So a lot of credit to Mother Nature but some credit to City of Winnipeg staff, too," Mayes said.

Staff used metal ground straps to make it easier to thaw pipes if required at the "frequent freezer" spots.

The city also lowered pipes at 52 locations, making them more resistant to frost.

While the city can't control when Mother Nature will bring more wicked winters, Mayes said the proactive measures mean it's less likely there will be another year like 2013-14.