In December 2010, Thames Water requested its social-networking customers to start reporting details of burst or leaking pipes on Twitter.
The UK’s largest water and wastewater company urged customers to ‘tweet a leak’ to its Twitter profile @thameswater using using the #tweetaleak hash tag. In the first four weeks, the service generated over 250 reports about leakages, around 9 a day. Due to the exceptionally cold weather in December, Thames Water was reporting nearly 300 leaks a day, four times the normal number at that time of year.
When the water in reservoirs drops below 5 degrees Celsius and enters Thames Water’s mains, especially the old cast-iron ones, they contract and in some cases break. The colder it gets the worse the problems gets. [...] More than 20 per cent of London’s water mains are over 150 years old – the oldest in the UK – and more than 40 per cent are over 100 years old.
Thames Water supplies drinking water to 8.7 million customers in London and the Thames Valley.
Example of Twitter feed on twitter.com/thameswater 08-09 January 2011
- @morecheerful Hi, just to let you know this was repaired last night. Amy11:28 AM Jan 9th via HootSuitein reply to morecheerful
- @allondon71 Hi Alex, can you give me the postcode for this please? Amy11:24 AM Jan 9th via web in reply to allondon71
- @ifuller1 @darryl1974 Hi both, the leak on Trafalgar Road was repaired last night. Amy11:23 AM Jan 9th via web in reply to ifuller1
- @allondon71 Thanks for the #tweetaleak will get that reported. Amy9:29 PM Jan 8th via txt
- @morecheerful Hi, we’re due to repair this tonight. Amy6:37 PM Jan 8th via txt