The City of Toronto experiences an average of 1,400 watermain breaks annually, resulting from the mechanical or structural failure of an underground pipe. North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke experience the highest break rates as their watermains are located in predominantly clay soil as opposed to sand.
- The average age of watermains in Toronto is 55 years old; 17 percent are more than 80 years old.
- Numerous factors contribute to watermain deterioration and failure; external corrosion is the primary cause.
- The number of breaks is greater in the winter months as cold temperatures cause soil to freeze and expand, putting stress on aging pipes.
- Small cast iron watermains constructed in the 1950s and 60s are the most susceptible to failure and are the focus of Toronto Water’s replacement program.
- Other measures the City is taking to reduce watermain breaks include cleaning and cement mortar lining and leakage reduction.
- If a major leak or break occurs, especially one that can affect water service or public safety, City staff respond immediately, 24/7.
- To report a watermain break, call 311.
To learn more about watermain breaks, watch the short video.