Freezing weather leads to widespread bursts and leaks
Several water companies across the UK have urged customers to limit usage after the recent adverse weather caused a spate of bursts and leaks.
The thaw that followed the recent sub-zero temperatures led to significant water loss that left thousands of homes without supply in areas including Wales, London, Kent and the Midlands.
Thames Water, South East Water, Southern Water and Affinity Water issued a joint statement on Sunday evening that read: "Following the recent freeze and rapid thaw, water companies across London and the South East of England are experiencing exceptionally high levels of demand for water due to multiple bursts on networks and an increase in leaks in and on customer properties.
"So they are asking their customers who have water to use as little as possible while they get things back to normal. Not all areas are affected equally, but significant numbers of customers are currently without water or have low pressure."
The companies requested "customers’ support and understanding to help us rebuild supplies in our networks for everyone as quickly as possible" and added: "Please do not use water for anything that isn’t essential.
"Where possible, take short showers rather than baths, do not leave taps running unnecessarily and only run washing machines and dish washers when you have a full load. This will make a real difference."
Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, meanwhile, confirmed it had experienced the same issues and said the "problems are likely to continue over the next few days" while also appealing to customers to reduce wastage.
Scottish Water, Wessex Water, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, South West Water, South Staffs Water and Northern Ireland Water also reported issues following the recent weather.
In response to the leaks, Water UK Chief Executive Michael Roberts said: “The recent severe weather has meant there have been multiple burst pipes and leakages across networks.
"This is being felt across the country as the thaw takes hold, with areas particularly in London and the South East of England affected, and we are sorry that the effects of the extreme weather are causing many customers serious difficulties.
“We want to let those customers know that water companies are working hard as they can to stabilise the situation. All companies have robust contingency plans in place for how to deal with these challenging situations, and they are finding and fixing pipes and leaks, making sure that customers are able to access alternative sources of water.
“We urge all customers to check their local water companies’ websites and social media for updates and advice. We also thank customers for their patience.”
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