1. ITV Report

Nearly 8,000 people in West Cumbria take to Facebook in bid to improve water quality

United Utilities blend soft water from Ennerdale with harder water from Egremont Photo: ITV Border

Almost 8,000 people in West Cumbria have joined a Facebook group in a bid to get United Utilities to address concerns about water quality.

Members of West Cumbria Water Supply (Save our Water Services) are calling for action following claims the change in water has left them with health problems.

United Utilities began blending soft water from Ennerdale with harder water from Egremont boreholes.

People say they've had upset stomachs, itchy skin, mouth ulcers, and have been forced to buy bottled water.

The water supplies many homes across West Cumbria, including Workington and Seaton.

We are actively supporting United Utilities as they develop a way forward for the drinking water supply issues.

Egremont boreholes are being used as a source of water whilst United Utilities Thirlmere pipeline project is underway and we are working closely with the water company to deliver West Cumbria's demand for water in the best possible way, balancing the needs of people whilst protecting the sensitive natural environment."

– Stewart Mounsey, Environment Agency Environment Manager, Cumbria

A petition is being organised to force the water company to take concerns seriously and there has also been a call for a public inquiry into the situation.

United Utilities say that the water is safe, and met with concerned residents at drop-in sessions in July:

While the water is completely safe to drink we do understand that our customers are unhappy about the change. We have been working with the Environment Agency to see whether a compromise may be reached for both the environment and our customers.”

– Spokesperson, United Utilities