Cold weather and aging infrastructure are being blamed for a spike in the number of water main breaks in Madison in 2014.
Numbers released Monday show 339 water main breaks so far in 2014. There were 306 breaks in 2013 and the average since 1980 is 216 breaks per year.
More than 250 of the breaks this year happened in just the first three months.
Madison Water Utility officials said that as the ground freezes and thaws, soil expands and contracts, putting pressure on water pipes. Older pipes, particularly those made in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, tend to break more often.
About 38 percent of Madison?s water main infrastructure dates to those post-World War II boom years.
The utility said it spent $7.5 million on main replacement in 2013 and expects that figure to be $12.5 million a year by 2020.