People in London and the South East are being urged to use as little water as possible after extreme weather hit supplies.
Burst pipes on networks and an increase in leaks are leading to exceptionally high demand for water and shortages, following the recent freeze and rapid thaw.
In a joint statement on Sunday evening Thames Water, South East Water, Southern Water and Affinity Water urged people who still had access to water to use as little as possible.
“Significant” numbers of people are currently without water or have low pressure, they said. On Twitter some angry customers complained that they had been without water for hours.
Customers are being asked to avoid using water for “anything that isn’t essential”.
Taking short showers rather than baths, being careful to turn taps off and only running washing machines and dishwashers with a full load are all recommended steps.
“This will make a real difference,” the statement said.
We have dozens of Thames Water teams working hard to fix all the leaks following the big freeze. Our engineers are working round the clock to keep the water flowing. pic.twitter.com/3EJXhtdYMs
— Thames Water (@thameswater) 4 March 2018
Companies also asked that customers check their pipes for bursts and call a plumber if necessary, explaining that outdoor taps were especially vulnerable.
“We are putting as much extra water as we can into our local networks and fixing leaks and bursts as quickly as possible,” the joint statement said.
“We sincerely apologise to all those who are currently without water or experiencing low pressure.”
Water companies were on Sunday prioritising services for vulnerable customers and setting up locations for the distribution of bottled water.
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