A major water crisis has hit Surrey, leaving thousands of residents without water after a technical issue occurred at Thames Water’s Shalford treatment works in Guildford. The incident, declared a major incident by the county’s Local Resilience Forum, was attributed to problems caused by Storm Ciarán, which severely impacted the water treatment facility.
Waverley Borough Council leader, Paul Follows, expressed frustration over the lack of information provided by Thames Water. He stated that approximately 10 to 12,000 people were affected and criticised the delayed declaration of a major incident. Thames Water apologised for the situation, acknowledging the challenges faced by the affected residents.
David Bird, retail director at Thames Water, assured that efforts were underway to restore water supplies to the majority of customers within 24 hours. Thames Water deployed 28 tankers, operating 24 hours a day, to provide water to local hospitals and vulnerable customers. Bottled water distribution points were set up at locations such as Crown Court car park and Artinton car park in Guildford to assist residents in need.
Residents in affected areas, including Milford, experienced not only water shortages but also power outages. Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN) reported that 276 customers in Milford were without power, with efforts to restore electricity ongoing.
Local schools, including Godalming College and Godalming Junior School, had to close due to the water crisis, and some pupils were invited in at specific times. Thames Water communicated with the Department for Education to minimise the impact on schools and students.
Thames Water has urged affected residents to refer to their website for updates and expressed gratitude for the community’s patience during this challenging time. Efforts continue to replenish water supplies, refill underground reservoirs, and gradually restore water services to the affected areas.