Wandsworth Prison went without mains water supply for 8 days

HMP Wandsworth (PA)
HMP Wandsworth (PA)

London's crumbling Victorian infrastructure must be updated, a shadow minister has said, after Wandsworth Prison and surrounding homes were left without a mains water supply for eight days.

Inmates at London’s largest jail had their shower use and ability to flush toilets restricted while Thames Water spent more than a week fixing a leak.

Nearby homes were also left without a consistent supply following the pipe burst on November 3.

Thames Water delivered 20 pallets of water to the jail and tankers were brought in to ensure some supply at the prison and nearby homes while the leak was fixed.

A Prison Service spokesman said the “contingencies kept disruption to a minimum”.

Tooting MP and shadow minister for mental health Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said the Government must invest in modernising the capital's infrastructure and making it "fit for the modern age".

"These reports from Wandsworth Prison are incredibly concerning," she said.

"The fact that prisoners were without running water for over a week, with restrictions on their ability to shower and with toilets unable to flush, is simply appalling.

“This water outage also affected many nearby homes, because the prison supplies water to local houses. The Government must get a grip and ensure that our prisons and their infrastructure are fit for the modern age.”

Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Getty Images)
Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Getty Images)

Justice Minister Damian Hinds said HMP Wandsworth reported "disruption to their water supply across the prison" on November 3.

"Contact was made with Thames Water who confirmed that there was a pipe leak in the Roehampton area," he said.

"Thames Water advised that the issue should be resolved within an hour. As a result of this, the prison implemented a restriction on access to showers and provided water to enable flushing of toilets.

"Thames Water provided bottled water to affected areas, including the prison.

“On November 9, the burst pipe was reported to be fixed but a period of time was required to ensure the safety of water supply when it was turned on.

"The water supply to the prison was disrupted for a total of eight days."

A Thames Water spokesman said: “Earlier this month we successfully carried out repairs to a water main close to Wandsworth Prison.

"During this time we infused water into the area and had two tankers on site to ensure the prison and nearby homes remained in supply.

“Unfortunately, on November 9, the prison did experience a few hours with intermittent supply or no water. We worked with them to restore the supply, bringing in further tankers and delivering 20 pallets of water.

“We’re also sorry to hear that some residents experienced low pressure or no water.”

Serious violence inside HMP Wandsworth, which houses 1,400 inmates, has doubled in six months after an influx of rival gang members, a recent official report revealed.

The report by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor also warned that Wandsworth is blighted by overcrowding and “very poor” living conditions with “piles of litter”, and highlights a lack of education provision, inadequate preparation for housing inmates on their release and staff shortages.