Water woes for 18,000 Marchwood and New Forest homes to continue

Water station at Costco, Southampton
Bottled water stations have been set up for those who have lost their supply

Disruption of water supplies after Storm Ciarán is likely to continue into the weekend.

More than 18,000 homes in the Southampton and New Forest areas are without water or experiencing low pressure after the storm led to a supply works being shut down.

Bottled water is available at four distribution centres.

Southern Water said rainfall had caused "unprecedented issues with the raw water quality" in the River Test.

As a result, a shutdown was triggered at its Testwood site which meant water could not be abstracted and treated for drinking.

Jim Ramswell from Marchwood
Jim Ramswell, from Marchwood, said having no water was proving a "bit of a challenge"

The company said the situation was "improving" and it was planning to refill the network over the coming days.

It also said work was "progressing well" and that some customers would see their water return overnight.

"The refilling of the network to get water to you must be done carefully and slowly to prevent bursts, airlocks and discoloured water," it said.

"It takes at least 24 hours to get back to normal. However, the expected rainfall due tomorrow [Saturday] is likely to exacerbate the issues on site so this may affect our plans.

"Unfortunately, this means customers' water supply will be disrupted into the weekend"

With thousands of households in the SO40 and SO45 postcode areas without running water, bottled water stations opened have been operating.

The areas affected include Marchwood, near Southampton, Calshot, Fawley and Blackfield in the New Forest.

The stations distributing bottled water closed at 21:00 GMT but will reopen at 08:00 on Saturday.

They are based at:

  • Applemore Leisure Centre, Hythe, SO45 5TN

  • Gang Warily Leisure Centre, Fawley, S045 1GA

  • Staplewood Football Development and Support Centre, Marchwood, SO40 4WR

Jim Ramswell, from Marchwood, who visited the water collection site in Southampton said with a household of five things were "a bit of a challenge at the moment".

He said: "We filled up the kettle last night but now we've completely run out of water - the queue here is pretty big but the team here are doing a good job.

"It's the hygiene side I am more worried about. I am concerned about toilet flushing and showering.

"I've got a fishpond in the front garden but I tried to get some water from there but it is filthy - I've realised I've got some work to do on the fishpond before I can use it for flushing toilets."

Sharon Guy from Marchwood
Sharon Guy woke up to no water at her home

Sharon Guy, from Marchwood, was among those to head to the water collection point at Costco in Southampton after waking up to find her taps had run dry.

She said she had been impressed with the information provided and how the water collections were organised.

"There's three of us at home so hopefully this won't last too long because we're all going to be at home this weekend," she added.

Southern Water said it had delivered bottled water to care homes and about 2,700 vulnerable customers overnight.

Speaking earlier, managing director Tim McMahon, said: "The River Test that feeds our key water supply works for the area has become really dirty because of the run-off from the ground into the river."

He said this had made it "really difficult to treat the water to the right quality", meaning not as much water could be supplied as usual.

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