Water supply returning to Isle of Sheppey after thousands left without water during heatwave

Bottled water was handed out at Minster Working Men's Club in Sheerness on Wednesday before the water supply returned Credit: ITV Meridian

Residents on the Isle of Sheppey can expect their water supply to return on Thursday after burst pipes left thousands without water during the hottest week of the year.

Two main pipes to the island off the Kent coast burst on Tuesday, affecting 24,000 homes and shutting 12 schools.

Bottled water points were set up by Southern Water and tankers were brought in to supply Sheppey Community Hospital.

Southern Water issued a statement on Thursday morning saying the supply should return by noon – though residents were told to expect cloudy water and low pressure.

Bottled water stations will also stay open throughout Thursday.

A spokesman said: “We’re pleased to confirm that customers on the Isle of Sheppey should now be seeing their water supply returning. This will happen gradually over the morning depending on where you are located and which reservoir provides your supply.

“Demand is obviously extremely high so customers will continue to see low pressure as the situation returns to normal.

“Discoloured water from your taps is normal after a supply interruption. This is usually temporary and disappears once the network settles.

“If the water is cloudy and white, try leaving it in a glass for a few minutes to see if it clears. This will be air trapped in the water as the pipes refilled.

“If the water has a brown or black colour, run your tap for few minutes and it should clear. If this doesn’t work, turn the tap off, wait 20 minutes and try again.

“It’s fine to use your water as normal when your water runs clear. When your tap water is discoloured brown or black, avoid running hot water taps or using dishwashers, washing machines or any other appliances which use water. It’s OK to flush the loo.

“Sometimes, after a network has been emptied, air locks can occur either in our pipes or customers’ – running taps for a short while can help bring water through.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager David Escudier said: “We have plans and procedures in place to make sure we can carry on providing an effective emergency response. Resources have been moved to the affected area to ensure we have access to sufficient water supplies in the event of a fire.

“We’ve worked closely with Southern Water and the local council to provide support, including assisting in the delivery of bottled water to distribution centres, and the delivery of drinking water to residents most in need.

“We currently have a high volume pump hose running from the Sheppey crossing onto the island, which is in place to refill fire engines as necessary to ensure firefighting resilience, and to provide water to livestock that would otherwise use public drinking water supplies.