Water Supply Back On – Again
Written by karen on 16 January 2016
Southern Water Under Fire
Water supplies to affected areas on the island have been restored overnight, residents in the ME12 area went almost 24 hours without running water. Southern Water have released the following statement:
We have completed repairs and water is now being restored to the Isle of Sheppey. The area will take some time to fill therefore some customers may experience a delay before the supply returns fully. Some customers may experience discolouration of their water or air in their supply. Please be advised neither are a cause for concern and we advise that you should run your tap until it clears. Bottled water will continue to be available at Morrison’s supermarket in Queenborough. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.
There was much criticism of Southern Water for the lack of information during the day, despite repeated requests from us and others.
Just to let everybody know that I will be writing to the Managing Director of Southern Water on Monday to express my anger and frustration at the way today’s water crisis on Sheppey has been handled.
I understand fully that repairing the main pipe under the A249 was a major engineering exercise that has taken a long time complete and I understand that having finished the repair that Southern Water need to undertake extensive tests to ensure the water’s purity.
However, my staff and I have spent all day trying to get information from Southern Water and passing that info onto the people who have been affected, not least because communication with the Public by Southern Water was abysmal.
I am particularly angry about the way in which drinking water has been distributed to those people in need, or rather the way in which it was NOT distributed.
It was all very well arranging for water to be available at Morrison’s, but what about those people in the east end of the Island who had no means of getting to Neats Court, or the elderly or disabled who are unable to get out of their home?
This evening I received an email from a disabled couple in Halfway who are unable to get to Morrison’s and have not had a drink all day. I rang the emergency number we were given in such circumstances and explained the situation. I gave Southern Water their telephone number and asked that they be contacted and provided with water. I asked also that somebody ring me back to confirm it had been done.
Half an hour later I rang the couple myself and they told me nobody had contacted them. I rang Southern Water again and spoke to somebody else. He promised to “try” to contact somebody and get something done. I told him in no uncertain terms that “trying” was not good enough. Again I asked that the couple be contacted and somebody ring me back.
When I hadn’t received a call back in half an hour I decided to take the couple some water myself. It’s just as well I did because finally Southern Water have rung me back and confirmed the couple are now on the list for a delivery and they would get water within the next few hours.
Within the next few hours! It is now 11 pm and as I pointed out to Southern Water, the couple are likely to be in bed before the water was delivered. The answer was that they would get water tomorrow.
Is it any wonder that I am so angry?
I will be telling the Managing Director without pulling any punches that Southern Water should have allocated as many resources as necessary to ensure a) that people knew how to contact them if they needed water and b) they had immediate access to that water.