Water supplies restored to thousands in Surrey after Thames Water 'technical issues'

Mike Pearse reports from Cranleigh, and speaks to residents, Cllr Liz Townsend and Danny Leamon, Operations Director for Thames Water.

Thames Water says supplies have been restored to the majority of homes across Surrey and Sussex which were left without water.

Hundreds queued for bottled water in places like Cranleigh at the weekend after Netley Mill Water Treatment Works suffered technical issues.

Swathes of homes between Cranleigh, Guildford and Horsham woke on Saturday, August 13 August, to drought conditions, high temperatures and little or no water pressure.

Residents in Cranleigh tell ITV News about their frustrations.

With supermarket shelves cleared of bottled water, Thames Water set up a station in Cranleigh, where residents queued for hours only to be allowed two 2 litre bottles each.

In a statement on Sunday night, August 14, Thames Water said: "We believe that most of our customers now have water, but it's taking longer than expected to return all supplies back to normal.

"Our engineers will be working through the night to identify and unblock any air pockets, to get the water flowing through the entire network.

"As your supplies return, you may initially experience low water pressure, especially if you live higher up.

"Your water might splutter or look cloudy when it comes back on.

"This should clear if you run your cold kitchen tap for a couple of minutes."

Thousands of people queued for water Credit: Martin Bamford/Surrey Live

Affected postcodes included GU5, GU6, RH4, RH5 and RH12, which include Cranleigh and Dorking.

The company said the bottled water station at Cranleigh Leisure Centre, will reopen at 8.30am Monday, August 15.

County councillor Liz Townsend, a Liberal Democrat who represents Cranleigh and Ewhurst, said: "This can't carry on. Every time we have hot weather now we run out of water locally and it's just not good enough.

"The government needs to get a grip on these utility companies. There are a lot of vulnerable people who are relying on water from their taps."

Cllr Liz Townsend, left, helps to hand out water Credit: Martin Bamford/Surrey Live

Laurence Matthews, a farmer in the Surrey Hills added that opening bottled water stations would not help animals who desperately needed water to drink in the hot weather.

He said: "Bottled water is of no use to 300 cattle who in the heat today will be breaking out the fields if they don't get water soon!"

WATCH: ITV reporter Mike Pearse confronts Thames Water spokesman about the company's failure to provide adequate water

Thames Water's website explained that the issue was caused by a problem at Netley Mill Water Treatment Works.

The news was greeted angrily by many people living locally, including ex-England footballer Graeme Le Saux who responded to the tweet by writing: "Your updates are as useless as you are.

"No information about where to collect water from.

"No mobile support for the vulnerable in this weather."

Martin Bamford, president of the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, said: "There are quite a lot of scared, desperate people now because it's so hot.

"Cranleigh has a very unreliable water network and we suffer from this quite a lot.

"Burst pipes are almost a weekly occurrence in this village, and I think the feeling is that Thames Water haven't made the investment over the years in this area, and the water supply just isn't fit for purpose."

Additional water stations were later opened at the Surrey Hills Business Park west of Dorking and in Gomshall Village.

More water being delivered in Cranleigh Credit: Martin Bamford/Surrey Live

Meanwhile, volunteers from Surrey 4x4 Response, an organisation of vehicle owners who help local authorities and emergency services when needed, provided assistance at the Cranleigh site.

Thames Water has apologised to those customers affected.