Streatham: Pipe leaks leave residents without water for days

Residents living in a block of flats in south-west London have hit out at Thames Water after it left them without water for several days.

Thames Water and management firm HNF Property had been disputing who was responsible for restoring the supply.

Thames Water initially said there were "no issues" with its pipes.

Micky Overman, who lives in Astoria Mansions on Streatham High Road, said some residents were housebound and could not flush their toilets.

The water company added that its engineers fixed one leak on Monday and another is yet to be fixed.

Ms Overman, 34, who has lived in the building for just over a year, said residents in about 15 flats woke up on Monday to find they had no water, and that they had not been supplied with any water since.

'Powerless in dire conditions'

She said residents felt "powerless" and "some are in dire conditions".

"Two of our flats house vulnerable people who cannot leave the house and have been without even the use of a toilet since Monday morning," she explained.

An email from HNF to residents on Wednesday night said "we have not had any work being undertaken at the block and there was nothing within the block itself that could cause such an extensive loss of water supply within the building".

The email said residents in a block HNF manages on a neighbouring road were also experiencing water issues but Thames Water had not been "able to co-ordinate a response".

Rezina Chowdhury, Labour councillor for Streatham Hill East, asked Thames Water on X, formerly Twitter, what it was doing about the water supply.

Remi Brossier, 38, said he had not been able to shower or wash dishes for days and the situation was "disgusting" and "unforgiveable".

Another resident, Imran Khan, who has lived in the building since 2010, said he has been bringing his housebound neighbour John Hitchman bottles of water from shops.

Housebound man 'let down'

Mr Hitchman, 64, who has mobility issues following a stroke, struggles to lift the bottles of water so cannot use his toilet normally.

"It takes a long time for me to fill it, and I can't stand for long," he explained.

He said care appointments at his home had been postponed because district nurses cannot wash and bandage his legs, adding that he felt "isolated" and "let down".

Ms Overman pointed out that if there are issues with the water supply from the street Ofwat guidelines state residents should be given an alternative supply of water equating to at least 10 litres (about 2 gallons) of water per person per day, but this was not supplied.

After she told both companies she was speaking out about the issues, she said HNF and Thames Water attended the building earlier on Thursday, but Thames Water initially refused to provide them with bottles of water, saying it had to be proven "they are at fault".

When Mr Khan met Thames Water engineers on Thursday he said he needed to "guide" them to where additional pipes and valves were as they were not aware of them, and they would be digging up more pipework later on Thursday.

A Thames Water spokesperson said early on Thursday it was contacted on Monday and attended the same day to carry out "thorough checks of our water pipes", but "no defects or problems were found".

However, in a development on Thursday afternoon Thames Water issued an updated statement which said on Monday engineers in fact "repaired a leak by the building".

"Following additional reports of no water, engineers again returned to the site today where they identified a broken valve. This is expected to be repaired.

"Bottled water has now been dropped off to residents and we are sorry for any inconvenience caused during this time."

HNF Properties and Lambeth Council have been contacted for a response.

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