Residents facing third night without water as deadline for fix pushed to Monday

Since Friday, around 40,000 people may have been affected by the supply fault in Bedfordshire.

Water bottles being handed out by Anglian Water
Water bottles being handed out by Anglian Water

Residents in Bedfordshire are facing a third night without water after the deadline to fix a supply issue was pushed back until Monday.

Due to a fault with a broken valve, water supplies cut out on Friday evening in the area surrounding Leighton Buzzard, which is home to an estimated 40,000 people.

Service had resumed for many customers on Sunday afternoon but local supplier Anglian Water has said there are still a “smaller number” of homes without water.

After a number of deadlines to fix the issue were not met, Anglian Water tweeted: “We have extended the deadline for this repair until midday tomorrow (Monday) to allow those customers who remain off water chance to make provisions for the rest of the day.”

On Sunday, residents had to queue for 45 minutes for bottled water after enduring a second night without mains supplies.

Maria Power queued for 45 minutes at the Tesco on Vimy Road in Leighton Buzzard, where Anglian Water is offering free bottled water to those still affected.

“There was probably 50 people in front of me, and it continued growing behind me,” the 34-year-old told the PA news agency.

“The situation is disgraceful it should have been resolved by now.”

Local resident Dave, 39, told PA: “As I passed (the water queue) two friends drove by and called out ‘we’re off to Milton Keynes for a shower’. It is shocking.

“‘Love Every Drop’ is Anglian Water’s slogan, but my cat had the last remaining water I had, that was what was left in the kettle.”

Some bottles being handed out by Anglian Water
(Anglian Water)

Anglian Water has apologised for the fault, which they say was initially caused by a broken valve and then by “air trapped in the pipes”.

“Apologies don’t quite justify the timescale,” Ms Power said.

“I’m angry at the water company that they are going to leave people without water for nearly 48 hours.”

The supplier had initially said the problem would be resolved by midday on Saturday, later pushing this deadline back to Sunday afternoon.

“Anglian Water has been moving the estimates throughout the weekend,” added Dave.

Anglian Water has apologised and said in a statement: “We know it’s been incredibly frustrating for our customers that timescales have changed over the last two days and not all supplies have been restored at the same time.

“Our estimates are always given with the best of intentions for returning things to normal, but on this occasion it has proved an unusually complex issue to resolve, with challenges that could not be predicted emerging along the way.”

Despite numerous complaints on social media, local MP Andrew Sealous tweeted: “Many customers supportive given what a complex issue Anglian Water dealing with.”

Anglian Water has offered to hand-deliver bottled water to vulnerable customers on their WaterCare register, though some residents have said they were unaware of it.

“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,” Richard Ayre, 29, said.

Jennie Bradley, who has a three-month-old baby, said water returned to her home on Sunday only to cause a “severe” leak, meaning she had to switch it off again as she awaited a plumber.

“Anglian Water do charge a pretty penny for a poor service,” the 38-year-old told PA.

“My question to them is why does one single valve in just one pipe cause an outage to the whole of a huge town and surrounding villages?”

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