02/28/2014 16:18 EST | Updated 04/30/2014 05:59 EDT

Record-setting winter plagues Toronto's water utility

A record-setting winter that has plagued the Greater Toronto Area this season has not been without its challenges as bone-chilling temperatures continue to affect Toronto's water services.

An extreme cold weather warning issued Friday was Toronto's 31st of the season - the most the city has ever experienced.

The city has spent nearly 45 per cent of the winter under such alerts.  

"I'm sorry to swear but this sucks,” Janelle told the CBC’s Linda Ward outside today.

“I'm moving to California tomorrow,” she quipped.

Toronto issued a statement asking for residents’ patience as it deals with "extremely high volumes of service calls" because of the prolonged extreme cold temperatures.

Since the beginning of the year there have been 772 water mains repaired, 1,839 no-water calls answered and 438 leaking water services fixed by city crews.

By comparison in 2013 there were about 1,500 water main breaks recorded for the entire year, the city reported.

Winter fatigue

Contractors have been hired to help Toronto Water staff thaw frozen underground pipes and the city has plans to purchase more thawing equipment.

Because of other municipalities also experiencing similar weather-related problems Toronto has been unable to ask for additional assistance, the city reported.

Jeff Coulson with Environment Canada said this is the coldest winter in 20 years and he's been hearing from people wondering when it's going to end.

"In a lot of cases it’s almost like a type of winter fatigue is setting in," Coulson said. "When they've been phoning me with a hope of warmer temperatures to come I unfortunately haven't been able to grant that wish."

Toronto Hydro said they've also observed the frigid temperatures reflected in customers' bills, with the average for a typical gas heated home up 9 per cent and an electrically heating home around 23 per cent.

Coulson said there likely wouldn't be any single digit highs in the forecast until mid-March.