Thousands of British homes without water as #SnowThaw bursts pipes

Industry regulator Ofwat condemned water companies for failing to do enough to prepare for the freezing weather conditions that recently swept the country and in turn led to burst pipes and leaks.

London and the south-east of England have been the hardest hit, with about 13,000 homes in Kent and Sussex and 5,000 homes in London still without water.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan added: "It is unacceptable that thousands of Londoners remain without water this morning".

Chief Executive Rachel Fletcher warned water suppliers they would "not hesitate to intervene" in their operations, as thousands of households were forced to turn to bottled water for drinking, flushing toilets and bathing. A number of water companies appear to have fallen well short on their forward planning and the quality of support and communication they've been providing, leaving some customers high and dry.

At a supermarket in Balham, south London, Thames Water employees distributed crates of bottled water to a waiting queue of people, while in Hampstead to the north of the capital, they ferried crates to residential streets in their own cars.

Many customers across the United Kingdom have been urged to use as little water as possible while the problems are fixed.

The Conservative MP added that companies "have shielded themselves from scrutiny" for "too long".

If the piped supply of water fails, the companies must provide at least 10 litres of water per person per day to affected consumers within the first 24 hours, and maintain this until the piped supply is restored.

"Over the last few years there have been several major water leaks, burst water mains causing severe disruption to my constituents meaning that they can't wash, they can't cook, they can't do the basic things we take for granted", he said in the House of Commons yesterday.

Severn Trent, a supplier of water to 4.3 million homes and businesses in the middle of England, said the number of burst pipes was up 4000 percent, while in Wales, Welsh Water said "unprecedented challenges" had affected 4,500 homes. "We know how infuriating this is and want to assure them that the whole company is working flat out to fix the problems".

The cold weather was blamed on the "Beast from the East" storm that caused temperatures to plunge for days across much of Europe and brought feet of snow to some areas.


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