No Hot Water for 36 Hours in August

Much of Iceland’s capital area will be without hot water for 38 hours between August 19 and August 21. This is due to the connection of a new water pipe. The areas affected are Hafnarfjörður, Garðabær, Kópavogur, Álftanes, Norðlingaholt and Breiðholt.

Water will be shut off on the evening of Monday, August 19 and will be turned on again at noon on Wednesday, August 21. Residents are recommended to keep their windows closed to retain heat during this time. They are also reminded to keep taps water shut off to avoid damage when the water returns.

Water provider Veitur notes that when waters is restored, leaks may occur. Any leaks should be reported immediately so they can be addressed promptly. Once water is restored, water pressure may be low for some time.

More information about the project is available on Veitur’s website.

Another Hot Water Shortage in Reykjanes a Possibility

Reykjanes peninsula eruptions

After a volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula on February 8 disrupted the hot water supply in Suðurnes, a town hall meeting was held to discuss the risk posed by future eruptions to the hot water supply. A representative from HS Orka stated that although the primary hot water conduit to Suðurnes had been fortified, the possibility of another hot water shortage could not be discounted.

Town hall meeting in Reykjanesbær

Following a volcanic eruption that began on the Reykjanes peninsula on the morning of February 8, lava flowed over and breached the Njarðvíkur conduit, a pipeline that transports hot water from the Svartsengi geothermal power plant to the towns in Suðurnes: Vogar, Reykjanesbær, Garður, Sandgerði, and Grindavík.

Shortly after noon that same day, the utility company HS Veitur reported a hot-water outage in the upper areas of the Reykjanesbær municipality and the towns of Sandgerði and Garður. The rest of Suðurnes soon followed. It took five days for the authorities to restore hot water.

Given that another eruption seems to be imminent, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management (DCPEM) held a town hall meeting at the Stapi conference hall in Reykjanesbær last night. The meeting was attended by representatives of the DCPEM, the Icelandic Meteorological Office, and the utility companies HS Orka and HS Veitur, alongside the Minister of Justice, Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir.

Another hot water shortage a possibility

According to Kristinn Harðarson, Executive Vice President of Operations at HS Orka, the possibility of another hot water shortage in the Suðurnes region cannot be discounted if an eruption occurs again on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Mbl.is reports.

Kristinn was asked whether there was still a possibility that residents in the Suðurnes region would once again be without hot water if lava flowed over the Grindavík road again. He answered affirmatively but pointed out that a long section of the Njarðvík pipeline, where lava is most likely to flow over, had been fortified. “This is a method that was tested at Fagradalsfjall. We are hopeful that this could work. Of course, we are in somewhat uncharted territories,” Kristinn observed.

“We are, at least, in a much better position, although it is never possible to rule anything out,” Kristinn continued. “If an eruption occurs somewhere else and lava flows over that section of the pipeline that is unprotected, there could be a disruption in delivery. But, in that case, we are prepared to respond, with materials on hand, and will do everything possible to ensure that any interruption is as short as possible.”

According to calculations by the Icelandic Meteorological Office, about 8.5 to 9 million cubic metres of magma have accumulated under Svartsengi. In previous eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula, eruptions have occurred when the volume of magma reached 8 to 13 million cubic metres. The lead-up to an eruption can be very short, according to geologists.

As noted by RÚV, it was also revealed during the town hall meeting that backup power has been secured for the distribution system, alternative water sources have been secured, and drilling for hot water in low-temperature areas has begun.

Emergency Repairs Underway for Grindavík’s Hot Water Conduit

An ambulance lingers just outside of Grindavík

Grindavík is experiencing low pressure in its hot water supply due to significant leaks, prompting emergency repairs and investigations to locate and fix the source of the issue. The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has adjusted settings and taken measures to maintain heat in houses despite the challenges posed by the current infrastructure conditions.

Significant leaks in the main Grindavík conduit

Following significant seismic activity on November 10 and recent eruptions, the town of Grindavík on the Reykjanes peninsula has faced unprecedented challenges. An eruption on January 14 destroyed three houses and caused additional crevasses to form across town. This geological unrest has displaced the town’s 3,800 inhabitants for the foreseeable future. Maintaining heat in the houses in Grindavík has also proved a challenge.

As noted in an announcement from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management today, the pressure in the hot water pipeline leading to Grindavík is low due to significant leaks both in the main conduit to Grindavík and in the town’s distribution system.

A search for the source of the malfunction has begun, the announcement notes, and efforts will be made to repair it as soon as possible. As opposed to laying a new pipeline over the lava, the civil protection authorities deemed it most appropriate, given the circumstances, to excavate towards the source of the possible malfunction. Maintaining heat in houses in Grindavik has proven a significant challenge.

“To ensure water flow through the heating systems of the houses under the conditions of the past weeks and months, plumbers working for the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management have adjusted the settings of pressure equalisers in the intake grids, shut off the potable water, and drained water from them for safety,” the announcement reads.

These measures were considered important given that ensuring normal water usage is nearly impossible. Any minor adjustments in the settings of the pressure equalisers or a slight change in pressure in the distribution system could mean that either the flow through the heating systems of the houses stops entirely or that the flow significantly increases.

New Water Pipeline Completed, Hot Water Returning to Reykjanes

lava, hraun, eruption, eldgos, hot water pipe

Residents of the Reykjanes peninsula, who have been without hot water since an eruption damaged a pipeline last Thursday, may finally be able to take a hot shower later today, RÚV reports. A new pipeline was completed around 1:00 AM last night and has been successfully transporting water to reserve tanks since around 3:00 AM this morning. Some 30,000 residents on the peninsula have been without hot water and heating since lava flowed across the main hot water pipeline from Svartsengi Power Station.

Using plug-in heaters to heat homes

The vast majority of homes on the Reykjanes peninsula are heated with hot water from Svartsengi, a geothermal power plant. The hot water outage began shortly after noon on Thursday, when the hot water pipeline serving the peninsula was damaged. Residents were urged to lower the temperature in their homes to extend the availability of hot water as long as possible, but by Thursday evening, reserves were depleted. Many rushed to buy electric radiators, gas tanks, and heater fans to keep their homes warm. Several schools in the area were closed as a result of the outage.

Construction completed ahead of schedule

Construction on the new pipeline had begun before the eruption, but when the outage occurred, it was put in full swing. Welders, plumbers, excavation workers, and others worked throughout the weekend to get the new pipeline completed and did so ahead of schedule. Hot water is now filling the tanks, and could reach homes as early as tonight, though it may still take up to a few days. Authorities ask residents to continue limiting their electricity use to 3 KW per home in order to avoid outages, particularly in the evening when strain on the system increases.

Further eruptions expected

The eruption that occurred last Thursday is the third in the area in three months. While it appears to already be over, further eruptions are expected. Geological activity, including land rise at Svartsengi, indicates that magma is once again collecting below the surface of the Reykjanes peninsula.

Read more about the series of eruptions that began on the Reykjanes peninsula in 2021.

Emergency Efforts Underway to Restore Heat in Suðurnes

eruption, eldgos, civil protection dept. almannavarnir, Sundhnjúkargígjarröð

The Reykjanes peninsula experienced a volcanic eruption that led to a hot water outage across Suðurnes since noon yesterday. Efforts are underway to establish an auxiliary water pipeline to restore hot water, with residents and critical facilities like nursing homes receiving emergency heaters in the meantime.

Suðurnes without hot water since noon yesterday

Following a volcanic eruption that began on the Reykjanes peninsula at 6 AM yesterday, lava eventually flowed over and breached the so-called Njarðvíkur conduit, a pipeline that transports hot water from the Svartsengi geothermal power plant to the towns in Suðurnes: Vogar, Reykjanesbær, Garður, Sandgerði, and Grindavík.

Shortly after noon, the utility company HS Veitur reported that a hot-water outage had occurred in the upper areas of the Reykjanesbær municipality and the towns of Sandgerði and Garður. The rest of Suðurnes soon followed. Residents were urged to lower the temperature in their homes to extend the availability of hot water as long as possible. 

In response to the hot-water outage, many also waited in long lines to buy electric radiators, gas tanks, and heater fans. Several schools in the area were closed, and the Keflavík International Airport was likewise without hot water. 

Working to connect an auxiliary pipeline

As soon as it was clear that the pipeline had been damaged, a group of workers began working on welding bypass connections to a new auxiliary water pipeline to compensate for the old Njarðvík conduit. This group of workers included welders, plumbers, excavation workers, and more. Although the night was uneventful regarding the eruption itself — it could conclude as early as today or the weekend — efforts to connect the new auxiliary pipeline were in full swing.

In an interview with RÚV this morning, Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir, Communication Manager with the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, stated that work on the new pipeline was progressing well. 

As noted by RÚV, the civil protection authorities purchased heaters for those who couldn’t do so themselves, such as for nursing homes and hospitals: “The approximately 100 heaters that were purchased were delivered to operation control in Suðurnes to be distributed to those who could not secure such items for themselves,” Hjördís remarked. “They have been very useful, especially at the Nesvellir and Hlíðarvangur nursing homes. We have also ordered a large quantity of heaters, which will arrive in the country today.”

The foremost priority of the civil protection authorities is to restore heat. Hjördís emphasised, however, that this process could take some time, assuring residents that the authorities would continually update residents on the progress: “As we have already noted, even though the auxiliary pipeline is connected, it will take time to restore heat to the system. So, it will remain cold today, but we hope that the process will proceed quickly and securely.”

No Hot Water in Hafnarfjörður, Parts of Garðabær, Monday to Wednesday

Due to the connection of new heating mains, there will be no hot water in all of Hafnarfjörður and parts of Garðabær between Monday night and Wednesday morning next week. The new mains are expected to ensure Hafnarfjörður’s hot water supply over the coming decades.

Integration of new heating mains

Veitur (Iceland’s public utility company) announced yesterday that Hafnarfjörður and select parts of Garðabær would be without hot water from 10 PM on Monday, August 21, to 10 AM on Wednesday, August 23. This interruption owes to the integration of new heating mains.

As noted in the announcement, the new mains will bolster transport capacity, addressing the growth in residential demand in Hafnarfjörður, stemming from town expansion; the aim is to ensure Hafnarfjörður’s hot water supply over the coming decades.

Laying new main pipes in established neighbourhoods is rare, and the process is extensive. However, Veitur commits to swift, safe completion. Updates will be available on Veitur’s website.

The following streets in Garðabær will be affected by the closure: Boðahlein, Naustahlein, Hraunholt, Hraungarðar, Hraunhóll, Hraunhamrar, Hrauntunga, Hraunkot, Hraunborg, Gimli, Björk, Brandstaðir, Garðahraun, Miðhraun, Norðurhraun, Suðurhraun, and Vesturhraun.

Public Pools in Capital Area Set to Reopen at 3 PM

Laugardalslaug geothermal swimming pool in Reykjavík

Following closures yesterday, public pools in the capital area are expected to open again at 3 PM today.

A prolonged cold spell leads to hot-water supply cuts

Owing to a prolonged cold spell, the utility company Veitur decided yesterday to cut its supply of hot water to some of its largest users, among them, the public swimming pools in the capital area. All of the pools throughout the capital region were subsequently closed.

In a news bulletin published yesterday, the City of Reykjavík noted that most of the pools will reopen at 3 PM today. Vesturbæjarlaug, in West Reykjavík, began reheating its hot tubs and pools at noon and hopes that temperatures will be just right at 3 PM. Laugardalslaug will also open at 3 PM. The beach in Nauthólsvík opened again at noon while Árbæjarlaug in East Reykjavík will open at 9 AM tomorrow.

Iceland Review recommends calling public pools in advance to make sure that your pool of choice is open.

On its website, Veitur noted that – due to the heavy use of hot water – residents in some areas of the capital region may experience a drop in pressure. “We encourage people to take good care of the heat, check the seals on windows and doors, make sure the heating system is working properly and don’t leave the hot tub running on the coldest days,” a post on Veitur’s website reads.

Capital Area Pools Closed to Conserve Hot Water

sundhöll

Pools throughout the capital region will be closed today due to the cold spell affecting Iceland.

Utility company Veitur will be cutting its supply of hot water to some of its largest users, in an attempt to reduce hot water use.

In response to Veitur’s reduction, Reykjavík City has made the decision to close the city’s pools today, January 19. The closures will also affect the bathing facilities at Nauthólsvík. The closures will also be in effect in the nearby towns of Mosfellbær and Kópavogur.

Bathers will however still be able to visit the pools in Garðabær, though water temperatures may be potentially lower than usual. The Seltjarnes pool will likewise continue to be open, as it is supplied directly from a geothermal borehole.

In a public statement, Veitur hopes to not have to limit the hot water supply for any longer than today, as warmer weather is expected. Pools are expected to open tomorrow, but this may be subject to change.

The pool closures come during one of the coldest winters in recent memory. This past December was the coldest since 1973, although average temperatures have risen slightly in January. Temperatures have been especially cold in the Reykjavík area, where it has not been colder (on average) since 1916.

In light of these unusual conditions, Veitur has also asked residents to help out in conserving hot water where possible. According to Veitur, some 90% of hot water use by Icelandic households goes towards heating alone. Residents are reminded to close doors and windows to conserve energy and to ensure that radiators aren’t blocked from heating the room.

Continued Cold Spell: Three Pools in South Iceland Closed

Low cost of electricity in Iceland compared with the rest of Europe

Three public pools in South Iceland will be closed indefinitely today to save hot water, RÚV reports. Iceland’s national utility company does not expect rationing to affect households. Temperatures around the country are expected to drop further this week.

A spell of freezing temperatures

Temperatures in Iceland have barely risen above 0°C over the past days – and the weather is expected to get colder as the week progresses. As noted by RÚV, households in Iceland have been kept warm by an abundance of geothermal energy, and according to information from Veitur – Iceland’s national utility company – the country’s hot-water system is well equipped to handle the cold spell; the system has yet to reach its limit, although Veitur will continue to assess the state of the system on a daily basis.

Even though the country’s hot-water supply is expected to handle the coming cold without incident, Rangárveitur, which manages the hot-water supply in three municipalities in South Iceland, is nearing its limit, a press release from Veitur notes. In light of the cold weather, the local authorities have decided to close three public pools in the area – in Hvolsvöllur, Hella, and Laugaland – starting today. The authorities hope that the pools will only be closed for a few days, or over the coldest period.

Order of priority

As far as additional reductions to the hot-water supply are concerned, a Veitur spokesperson told RÚV that cuts were always made first among large users – bathing lagoons, public pools, and butcheries, e.g. In the event of forced rationing, Veitur screens for “essential services” while also assessing whether relevant water conduits were capable of withstanding closures. As it stands, there is enough hot water to keep Icelandic households warm, although Veitur could be forced to make brief reductions (as in the case of the public pools in the Rangárvellir municipality).

Veitur recommends that homeowners keep their hot-water usage within reasonable limits. Ideally, radiator valves are to be set at 3 (20°C), allowing the thermostatic valve to detect the temperature in the room and adjust accordingly. Windows should be kept closed.

Hot Water Shortage in Selfoss: Public Pool Closed Indefinitely

Selfoss - Suðurland - Ölfusá

A fire in an electrical box of the Selfossveitur utility company has led to a hot-water shortage in Selfoss. The Árborg municipality has encouraged residents to save water and the public swimming pool in Selfoss has been closed indefinitely.

Contingency plan activated

As noted in a press release from the Árborg municipality yesterday, an electrical box in one of the boreholes of the Selfossveitur utility company caught fire on the night before Thursday, December 8. The fire forced a reduction in energy production, leading to a shortage of hot water.  

Selfossveitur subsequently activated its contingency plan, with residents of the Árborg municipality being encouraged to use their hot water sparingly. The municipality’s website offers advice to residents on how best to save water, including ensuring that windows and front doors remain closed and making sure that radiators are not blocked by long curtains or furniture.

In light of the shortages, Sundhöll Selfoss, the public swimming pool in the town of Selfoss, has been indefinitely closed.

“Which is why we’ve decided to close the Selfoss public swimming pool indefinitely. We will let you know immediately when we have a more detailed timeline regarding when we’ll open again,” a press release from the Selfoss swimming pool on Facebook reads.

 

Árborg municipality
Fire in electrical junction box (Arborg.is)