UK heatwave: Anglian Water leak in King's Lynn leaves hundreds without water in red heat alert zone

Contractors assessing the damage at the weekend. Credit: Rob Colwell.

Hundreds of people braced for a red extreme heat warning have been left without running water on what could be the UK's hottest day on record.

About 600 households near King's Lynn in Norfolk are entering their third day without water after a pipe burst on Saturday, with fears that supplies could be off until Tuesday - when temperatures could exceed 40C (104F).

At the peak, about 5,500 properties in North and South Wootton were affected, but that had reduced to 600 by Sunday evening, according to Anglian Water.

The water company has apologised for the disruption and said water tankers had been brought in to pump water back into the pipes on Sunday.

But a councillor in the area described the situation as a "crisis", and called on local authorities to activate an "emergency response" to ensure water gets to the most vulnerable.

Resident Ian Metcalfe said his water supply was cut off on Saturday, and although it has since returned, he said "you couldn't plan it to be worse".

"The temperatures are horrendous. Everybody says keep hydrated, stay in the cool. If somebody doesn't make it through this hot spell through lack of water, then it's down to the water company," he said.

"Anglian Water have lost a huge amount of credibility."

The Met Office has issued its first ever red extreme heat weather warning for areas in central, eastern and south-eastern England between Monday and Wednesday, warning of a risk to life.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We’re sorry customers in North and South Wootton have experienced an interruption to their water supply.

"The repair is complicated and it’s taking longer than we’d hoped.

“We are using tankers to put water back in the pipes as quickly as we can, and it should now be getting through to customer taps, although the pressure may be slightly lower than normal."

The site of the leak is under water, making it difficult for contractors to fix the pipe. Credit: Rob Colwell

A bottled water hub at South Wootton Village Hall had been set up for people who needed water, the company added.

The disruption came as the UK was gearing up for record breaking temperatures on Monday and Tuesday.

The country's highest ever temperature of 38.7°C (101.7°F), set in Cambridge just three years ago, will most likely be broken on Monday or Tuesday as thermometers could hit 40C (104F) or even 41C (106F).

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