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Water supply problems hit London and many parts of UK

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Media captionOne restaurant owner in London was left without water on Sunday

Homes across the UK are facing water supply problems – with thousands of people in Wales and south-east England urged to use as little as possible.

Water companies say a weather thaw has resulted in low pressure issues, and a number of burst water mains and leaks.

About 5,000 homes are without water in Kent, thousands of properties are affected in Wales, while about 12,000 homes in London lost water overnight.

Water supply problems hit London and many parts of UK
Water supply problems hit London and many parts of UK

The Midlands, Wales and Scotland are also affected by intermittent supply.

Increased demand on Monday morning has put pressure on many water networks, with suppliers warning of poor water pressure and intermittent supplies as they try to refill pipes.

Image caption Water stations to distribute bottles of water were open in London

At its peak, more than 20,000 homes in London were left without water on Sunday, while some schools in the capital have said they will be closed on Monday because they cannot guarantee running water.

Southern Water said it was working to restore supplies to up to 5,000 homes in Sittingbourne, Kent, urging customers to “only use the water you absolutely must”.

Welsh Water said between 3,000 and 6,000 customers were without water on Monday morning, saying it was dealing with 200 leaks, adding: “It’s been a really challenging 72 hours for us”.

Severn Trent apologised to customers in parts of north Derbyshire with little or no supply – but said it had restored water supplies to households in Birmingham, north Nottingham and Rugby and Southam, Warwickshire, on Sunday night.

South East Water said the cold snap and subsequent thaw had put “extreme pressure” on its network and has set up a number of bottled water stations in Sussex and Kent.

Wessex Water, Yorkshire Water and South West Water all said they were dealing with problems.

Welsh Water said its team had been working through Sunday night to fix bursts and detect leaks, adding: “These problems are likely to continue over the next few days”.

Skip Twitter post by @MRJ_DJ

@thameswater, 48 hours without a proper wash now and no clean shirts for work tomorrow! Worst customer services I have experienced in a long time! When do you expect IG7 to have water fully restored!

— DJ-M-R-J (@MRJ_DJ) March 4, 2018

End of Twitter post by @MRJ_DJ

Skip Twitter post by @BFooli

There’s no water in north London and Thames water is handing out bottles like it’s a 3rd world country

— Cam (@BFooli) March 4, 2018

End of Twitter post by @BFooli

Skip Twitter post by @paulpkking

#thameswater

So Thames Water why can’t you acknowledge that SW17 has had no water since Saturday night?

— Paul King (@paulpkking) March 4, 2018

End of Twitter post by @paulpkking

Parts of the UK are still recovering from the effects of Storm Emma, with more than 100 schools in Wales still shut due to snow or icy conditions.

In Cumbria, the RAF has been called in to fly food supplies, coal, logs and electrical heating appliances to isolated communities, where many homes have been cut off from all supplies for five days.

And in Scotland, Met Office yellow warnings for snow and ice remain, with people being urged to travel with caution, while ongoing bad weather has been slowing down water repair works.

Scottish Water said: “Weather and road conditions have presented challenges in maintaining our usual response services and we apologise if you’ve experienced a delay in us getting to you.”

Image caption A Chinook helicopter is flying aid to snowed-in communities in Cumbria

In London, customers said they could not register outages as the helpline is unavailable, while shops reportedly ran out of bottled water in some areas.

“We are putting as much extra water as we can into our local networks and fixing leaks and bursts as quickly as possible,” Thames Water said in a statement.

“Please do not use water for anything that isn’t essential. This will make a real difference.”

Jerry White, business manager at Thames Water, said engineers were “working extra hard” over the weekend.

He said there had been a “20% jump in the demand for water in the last five days”.

Skip Twitter post by @DwrCymru

⚠️Update – North East Anglesey⚠️

Work has been taking place around the clock. We’re really sorry for the disruption and would really like to thank everyone for their continued patience. We’re expecting supplies to be restored tomorrow morning across the region.

— Welsh Water (@DwrCymru) March 4, 2018

End of Twitter post by @DwrCymru

Skip Twitter post by @SouthernWater

We are still working hard to restore water supplies to

around 5000 customers around Sittingbourne in Kent. Please help us to help you by only using the water you absolutely must. Thank you for your patience.

— Southern Water (@SouthernWater) March 5, 2018

End of Twitter post by @SouthernWater

Skip Twitter post by @stwater

Our teams have been working hard through the night and we’re happy to say that customers in both Birmingham and North Nottingham now have water supplies back on. Thanks so much for your patience – we know how hard it is to have no water. Full updates here https://t.co/AWM8ytCgjSpic.twitter.com/oPWAG3tUR8

— Severn Trent (@stwater) March 5, 2018

End of Twitter post by @stwater

The problems came after a prolonged period of cold weather for much of the UK.

Water companies said that, as temperatures increased, frozen pipes thawed, causing them to contract and sometimes break.

As the snow and ice melted over the weekend, holes were then exposed.

Temperatures in most places increased over the weekend, however, two yellow warnings for ice are still in place in Scotland and for snow and ice in northern England and Northern Ireland.

A weather warning for Scotland has been extended into Tuesday.

Meanwhile, two flood warnings remains in place – in Swanage Bay, Dorset, and Halesworth, Suffolk – while 33 less severe flood alerts are in place.

Are you facing water supply problems? Share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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