A major water crisis has struck Surrey, leaving thousands of residents without access to clean water. The crisis unfolded after a technical issue disrupted operations at Thames Water‘s Shalford treatment works in Guildford. The incident, declared a major event by the county’s Local Resilience Forum, has been attributed to the aftermath of Storm Ciarán, which wreaked havoc on the water treatment facility.
Local authorities and residents have expressed frustration over the lack of information and the delayed response from Thames Water. Waverley Borough Council leader, Paul Follows, voiced concerns about the approximately 10 to 12,000 people affected by the crisis and criticized the delayed declaration of a major incident.
Thames Water has since issued an apology, acknowledging the challenges faced by the affected residents and has vowed to take swift action to resolve the situation. David Bird, retail director at Thames Water, assured that efforts are underway to restore water supplies to the majority of customers within 24 hours.
In response to the crisis, Thames Water has deployed 28 tankers operating 24 hours a day to provide water to local hospitals and vulnerable customers. Additionally, bottled water distribution points have been set up at locations such as Crown Court car park and Artinton car park in Guildford to assist residents in need.
The repercussions of the water crisis have extended beyond water shortages. Some areas, including Milford, have also experienced power outages. The Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN) reported that 276 customers in Milford were without power, with ongoing efforts to restore electricity.
The crisis has disrupted daily life, leading to the closure of local schools, including Godalming College and Godalming Junior School. Some students have been invited to attend at specific times to minimize the impact on their education. Thames Water has communicated with the Department for Education to ensure a coordinated response.
Thames Water has urged affected residents to refer to their website for updates and expressed gratitude for the community’s patience during this challenging time. The company is actively working to replenish water supplies, refill underground reservoirs, and gradually restore water services to the affected areas.