February 4, 2023

More households in south east England are expected to lose running water and some will go without on Christmas Day.

Water companies are working to get tens of thousands of homes across much of Sussex, Kent and Hampshire back on by the weekend.

Companies said the rapid thaw of frozen pipes had increased the number of cracks and leaks in the underground network of pipes, causing storage reservoir levels to drop after temperatures dipped below zero.

Southern Water said on Wednesday evening: “We regret that our customers in SO15 – Southampton; SO16 – Bassett, Nursling, Millbrook, Chilworth, Chilworth Village Lord’s Hill; SO19 – Bitterne; SO21 – Compton, Compton Down, Hursley, Otterbourne, Shawford, Twyford ; SO22 – Badger Farm; SO31 – Bursledon; SO50 – Eastleigh; SO51 – Ampfield, Braishfield; SO52 – North Baddesley; and SO53 Chandlers Ford are out of water.

“We expect more customers in the wider Yew Hill area – SO15, SO16, SO18, SO19, SO21, SO22, SO30, SO31, SO50, SO51, SO52, SO53 to lose water pressure or supply in the coming hours.

“It is likely that this loss of pressure or water supply to your home will continue for at least another 48 hours.”

South East Water said it is “committed to getting its customers who are currently without water back on the water by Christmas Day, if not sooner”.

The company said the number of bursts had increased by 300 percent, CEO David Hinton recounted BBC South East Today About 5,000 more properties were hit on Wednesday.

In Tunbridge Wells, the water will remain closed until Thursday morning.

A statement from South East Water said: “It is impossible to predict which pipes will burst and where, and we are working 24 hours a day to find and repair these cracks and leaks as quickly as possible.

“We have also used tankers to inject more water into the system to keep supplies going for as long as possible.

“We see a lot of demand on the network and ask you to check your pens, air boxes and outdoor taps for leaks if possible.”

Emergency supplies of bottled water have been delivered to cities and towns.

Southern Water said in a statement: “Our teams have been working hard all day to minimize the impact of water restrictions on our customers.

“The significant pressure on our network means that demand continues to outstrip supply. We have had to make some tough decisions to ensure we protect critical infrastructure across Hampshire, such as local hospitals.”

The company said bottled water stations had opened in Hampshire in the East and South Park and attractions at Winchester and Places Leisure in Eastleigh.

The statement added: “More bottled water stations will open (on Thursday) and we will confirm locations and times on our social media channels and on our website.

“We are very sorry for the disruption and inconvenience this is causing, especially in the days leading up to Christmas. We are working so hard that we will be able to resume services on Sunday.”

Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, tweeted: “I have asked Southern Water to set up a bottled water station in Southampton – unacceptable that the nearest is the park and ride in Winchester.

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