Weather: Expert warns of 'longest heatwave in 50 years
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The Isle of Sheppey in Kent has been relying on a limited number of bottled water banks which were set up by Southern Water after the blunder on Tuesday, July 12. Southern Water has admitted that it had to halt supply as part of the ongoing work to fix it. With some people unable to make it to the water stations, it was also in short supply at nearby supermarkets as many began panic buying bottled water. At the time there was little indication of when the supply would be back up and running, with Southern Water repeatedly apologising for the inconvenience.
And the timing could not have been worse, as the south east of the country is amid a sweltering heatwave which will only get worse in the coming days.
Kent is often one of the hottest counties in the country because of the European heat that moves in directly across the south east.
Health officials have also urged people to stay hydrated to avoid adding extra pressure to the already stretched NHS.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the water firm said: “We are extremely sorry that our customers on the Isle of Sheppey have had their water supply affected due to emergency repair work on a burst main, which supplies water storage reservoirs on the island.
“This emergency repair work is not caused by the hot weather. The work required us to temporarily pause water flow.
“Unfortunately, due to the hot weather and subsequent high-water demand, our back-up water storage levels are lower than normal and water supply on the island has been disrupted.”
The company delivered bottled water to all customers on its priority service register and worked with Swale Council to give out water where it was needed.
A total of three bottled water collection points were set up amid the chaos.
A specific time on when the situation could be resolved was not given, with a spokesman for the firm explaining why.
The statement at the time said: “The repair is complex, and our crews have been working in very difficult circumstances.
“First, our team must dig a large surrounding hole in boggy conditions and make sure this is safe before they can access the affected area of the pipe.
“We are working hard to complete the repair as quickly as possible. We want to start filling the storage reservoirs back up as soon as we can and return water to the network.”
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The pipe itself was repaired yesterday, but the refilling of the reservoir and the testing of water quality took more time to sort.
Just this morning the company confirmed the situation had been resolved, but that pressure would fluctuate before returning to normal.
A spokesman said: “Recovery through the night has been going well, many will have now seen water returning to their taps.
“This will happen gradually during the morning depending on where you live. We’re so sorry again.”
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