February 3, 2023

Thousands of homes in south east England are at risk of spending Christmas without running water after freezing temperatures burst pipes.

Water companies are working to restore power to households across large parts of Sussex, Kent and Hampshire for the holiday weekend.

Companies said the rapid thaw of frozen pipes had increased the rate of bursts and leaks, causing storage reservoir levels to plummet after the sub-zero temperatures.

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 there was a 300% increase in the number of bursts, and chief executive David Hinton told BBC South East Today that around 5,000 properties were still affected on Wednesday.

Southern Water said in a statement: “We are currently facing significant pressure on our water supply in parts of Hampshire, caused by a combination of factors, including leaks following the recent ‘freeze/thaw’ event.

“This has resulted in the demand for water exceeding the capacity of our water treatment plants to run the taps.

“We are working as hard as we can to fix this problem, address leaks and stabilize supply, but we also have to make tough decisions to reduce demand – to protect critical Hampshire infrastructure such as hospitals.

“As a result, we are unfortunately having to restrict the water supply for some customers in parts of Hampshire for a minimum period of 48 hours.”

Both water companies apologized for the outage.

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

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.”

Mr Hinton said in a statement: “Our teams are working diligently to locate, repair and repair the leaks in our pipes, but we are also asking customers to help by checking their homes, businesses, vacant properties, outdoor taps and troughs. Check fields for leaks and have them repaired as soon as possible.

“Property leaks can cause extensive damage that can be costly to repair.”

The news comes just days after the lead jumped North London several homes had to be evacuated.

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A burst water pipe has flooded roads and homes in north London

A 42-inch water pipe burst on Saturday night, causing flooding two feet deep over an area of ​​about half a mile.

Eight fire engines and about 60 firefighters were called to Belsize Road in the London Borough of Camden around 3am on Saturday morning.

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