Up to 100,000 properties in London have been left with little or no water after a large pipe at a waterworks burst, causing a number of schools to close and hospital appointments to be cancelled.
Thames Water said the fault at its Hampton site on Wednesday had caused problems in the west and south-west of the capital, and that this prevented water being pumped into its pipe network across west London, affecting the TW, KT and W postcodes.
The company has opened two bottled water stations in Hampton, which will be open until 9pm. People reported on social media that supermarkets and local shops had sold out of water bottles, sharing images of cleared shelves.
An update on the Thames Water website, posted at 7pm, said affected properties still had either no water or low pressure, and that the works on the burst pipe were continuing.
The company said: “Repairs to the burst pipe inside our water treatment works are under way. 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.”
Thames Water added that it would 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.
A spokesperson said shortly after that “a large proportion” of the affected households were gradually getting their supply back as water filtered through the network, and that the majority were expected to be reconnected “over the course of the evening”.
Thames Water said a support team was on the ground to help customers who had priority or were medically dependent on water.
However, some people said they were still waiting for bottle deliveries that had been promised to them after their households had been added to an emergency list.
One woman commented on the Thames Water website: “I’m still waiting for bottled water to be delivered since I can’t get out. In 2nd floor flat in Teddington without transport or mobility after being promised by Thames Water priority services this morning on the telephone.”
Another woman, Karen, commenting on the Thames Water website, said she had a newborn baby, was struggling to clean bottles and mix formula and described the situation as “absolutely disgusting”.
A Thames Water spokesperson said people who had only signed up for priority service on Wednesday morning had “not necessarily” received bottle deliveries. “We have hand-delivered bottles to our priority service customers, people who had been signed up for his service in advance. We always strongly encourage people to sign up in case an incident like this occurs.”
The 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.