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A very high likelihood that you need a new thermo-couple. Its a real simple repair. Costs about $10. Measure the length of the one you have or I think they come in two lengths...just get both, return one.

Its not the gas tube but the removable thermocouple next to it. Just take a needle nose pliers and pull it out and insert the new one. Here's an examle, one of many. Just Google thermocouple replacement.

http://www.americanwaterheater.com/support/manuals/nat_tc_instr.pdf

I have a repl tied to my WH as I had to replace two in 2 yrs but that was about 5 yrs ago.
 

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You most likely have the newer style water heater with the anti flash provisions. Depending upon the make there should be a screen on the bottom of the burner compartment. It will pick up lint and dust reducing combustion air and will kill the pilot during operation. If you have this type heater clean the screen.

Most pilot burners on water heaters are aerated style and again they will pick up lint and will need to be cleaned.

If that does not work the thermocouple may be going bad.

Other possibilities mechanical room starving for combustion air. Or the Energy Cutoff (ECO) Switch in the water heater control may be reducing the power to the pilot safety. If the ECO is going bad you'll need a new water heater control or new water heater. Price both.
 
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