Residents in Leighton Buzzard have been left without water since Friday evening due to a technical fault.
Anglian Water said the issue has been caused by a damaged valve and is affecting Leighton Linslade and the surrounding area of Bedfordshire, home to at least around 40,000 people according to government statistics.
The supplier initially said the problem should be resolved by midday on Saturday, later updating that they “aim to get customers in Toddington and Leighton Linslade back on by lunchtime and others may take longer”.
Locals sharing complaints about the issue on social media reported water running yellow and cloudy at around 6pm on Friday, before stopping altogether shortly afterwards.
We are sorry customers in Leighton Linslade and surrounding areas are without water because of a damaged valve in the pipe which supplies water to the area.We have teams working on a repair. For updates on this issue please visit https://t.co/nNBV376y4r
— Anglian Water (@AnglianWater) December 14, 2019
Resident Richard Ayre told the PA news agency: “Anglian Water is rubbish with communication as they are sending everyone to their website, which is crashing.
“The main concern is that they are saying it is one valve that has caused the issue. Surely the town and the villages are not all supplied through one pipe.”
The 29-year-old said he heard the water company is offering bottled water to “people on their priority list”, but he had not been aware there was one beforehand.
“Otherwise we would have signed up as a relative has just been released from hospital and needs to take in a large amount of fluids,” he said.
@AnglianWater we live in Leighton Buzzard and have a 10 month old who needs water. When will our supply be back on?
— Nina Butterfield (@NinaButterfield) December 14, 2019
Twitter user @NinaButterfield posted: “We live in Leighton Buzzard and have a 10-month-old who needs water. When will our supply be back on?”
Complaints about the issue have been so widespread that Leighton Buzzard was trending on Twitter on Saturday morning.
Anglian Water tweeted: “We do have reservoirs that water can be redirected from however we have already done this and due to the sheer demand of water needed, it unfortunately drained the reservoirs quite rapidly.”
An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “Our engineers have been working to fix a faulty valve in the pipe which supplies water to the area.
“We would like to thank customers for their patience while we carry out this work. We are genuinely sorry for the disruption this has caused, rest assured our teams will continue working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”
Shortly before 3pm on Saturday afternoon Anglian Water said water “should be coming back on now” for all except those in northern parts of Leighton Buzzard – for whom “the delay might be slightly longer”.
Many Twitter users claimed the water had not yet returned as the company said, with user @DuncanHunter11 responding: “This is not true. Most of Leighton Buzzard still has no running water… A total disgrace.”
This is not true. Most of Leighton Buzzard still has no running water. Bottled water won’t help allow us to shower, flush the toilet, do the dishes and so on. A total disgrace
— Duncan Hunter (@DuncanHunter11) December 14, 2019
Anglian Water added: “When the water returns it may appear cloudy. This is perfectly normal and is just millions of tiny air bubbles trapped in the pipe.
“If customers leave it to stand in a glass or a jug, it will soon clear and is safe to use as normal.”
It added bottled water is available for affected customers from Tesco on Vimy Road and Brooklands Social Club on Garden Leys – or for delivery by calling 0800 145 145 for those on Anglian Water’s WaterCare register.