Londoners strip supermarket shelves of bottled water as burst Thames Water pipe wreaks havoc and leaves 100,000 homes and schools without water
SHOP shelves were completely stripped of bottled water today when at least 100,000 properties in parts of London were left high and dry after a water pipe ruptured.
Schools and businesses were forced to shut up shop across Hounslow, Hampton, Twickenham, and Kingston, after the major pipe burst at the Thames Water works in Hampton.
The company – which has around 10million customers – said it was now working “flat out to get water flowing” again.
This evening it opened an emergency bottled water station in Hampton after thousands of homes were left with little or no water.
The move came after panic buyers emptied shops of tens of thousands of bottles of water – some were seen loading dozens into supermarket trolleys.
Pictures were posted on social media showing shelves stripped bare of drinking water as people were left without supplies for hours.
Many worried customers have also been tweeting to ask when emergency supplies would be issued by the authorities.
Others were quick to ask if they would be receiving any compensation as a result of the water supply outage.
One Twitter user, who was recovering from surgery, asked if anyone knew when bottled water was being distributed, adding she “can’t carry heavy things and my local is out of bottled.”
Kerry Watts also wrote: “Five hours without water – surely its time to get some bottles out to the most needy?”
Residents in Whitton, Teddington and Isleworth have also been affected and Ealing Council revealed that some residents in the borough were also without water.
Parts of Ealing, Hounslow, Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith and Fulham have also been affected by the pipe problem.
And this evening’s fixture at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey had to be abandoned.
Tonight Thames Water told Sun Online: “Repairs to the burst pipe inside our water treatment works are underway.
“The work we’ve done to bypass the pump and bring water into our pipe network from other areas has meant water supplies are returning to normal.
“It will take longer for some customers to get water back than others, as it takes time for the water to flow through every part of the network, but we expect all supplies to come back on over the course of the evening.
“We have a team of plumbers on standby to respond to any problems with air in the system, which can often happen after water has been off for a while.
“We’ve delivered hundreds of bottles of water to customers on our priority services list, including those with medical and mobility issues, and as a precaution have set up some bottled water collection points, details of which are available on our website. We’ll keep them open until 9pm.
“We’re really sorry for the inconvenience we’ve caused today and the time taken to resolve the problem. We’ll be carrying out a full investigation into what caused the burst so we can take steps to stop it happening again.”
Thirty schools and two children’s centres in Richmond and Hounslow have been closed, including Trafalgar Junior School in Twickenham, which has been left without flushing toilets and washing facilities in the kitchen.
Surrey County Council also confirmed six schools had closed in Sunbury-on-Thames because of the issue.
Teddington Memorial Hospital and Teddington Health & Social Care Centre have been hit by the water crisis with all planned clinics and sessions being cancelled.
The Urgent Treatment Centre has also closed although hospital wards remain open at this time, the Hounslow and Richmond NHS Trust said.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was “unacceptable that so many people are left without water for several hours with little or no information on when supplies will be restored”.
He said he expected Thames Water to compensate all those affected.
Hampton Court Palace said they have also been affected by ‘water issues’ but will remain open with the Music Festival going ahead tonight.
A palace spokesman said: “We have contingency plans in place and will be monitoring the situation throughout the day.”
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Thames Water is the UK’s largest water and wastewater services provider, with an annual turnover of around £2 billion.
Its coverage stretches from the eastern fringes of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire in the west, through London and the Thames Valley, to the western edges of Essex and Kent in the east.
It supplies 2.7 billion litres of drinking water, on average, to ten million people every day.