Thousands left without water in Britain

Icicles at the Bishopton tunnel

HAMPSHIRE residents have been told to use as little water as possible - after extreme weather caused burst pipes.

The problems are caused by pipes damaged by frozen water in the low temperatures, but some suppliers warned that the thaw could also cause ground movement that would further damage infrastructure.

Operations Director Dr Simon Earl said: "It's been a challenging time for everyone and we know it's hard for customers without water or with low pressure".

According to the firm, this saw it treat about 130 million more litres of water than it would normally provide on a normal winter's day - enough to fill 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Thames Water has faced criticism after a total of up to 20,000 properties in London and the Thames Valley had their supplies cut off over the weekend, The Guardian says.

Huge amounts of water saw pipes bursting as 130 engineer teams scrambled to fix "a large number of leaking pipes" in the capital.

Jerry White, business manager at Thames Water, said freezing temperatures followed by a "sudden thaw over Friday night" has led to a sharp increase in reported leakages and burst pipes.

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Companies also asked that customers check their pipes for bursts and call a plumber if necessary, explaining that outdoor taps were especially vulnerable.

South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust also took to Twitter to appeal to Thames Water for bottled water for its patients - and it seems to have worked.

Bottled water was brought in for those who lost running water in their homes.

In the joint statement, water companies said they "sincerely apologise" to those experiencing problems.

"We have done the leaks from the trunk mains and we are finding leaks in the network and fixing them".

A number of water handout points have been set up in London to provide the worst affected people with fresh water.

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