Mayor John Robini has been leading the Town Council and Waverley BC response to lack of water supply in Haslemere in the past 48 hours. Cllr Robini is arranging a meeting with Thames Water, the chief executive of Waverley and others to try and look at the long term solution, as this has been going on for several years.
Today, I met contractors on site. Half of Haslemere continues to be without water while Thames Water ferries tankers (capacity 19,000 litres) from Godalming to top up the reservoir in order to restore supplies to our homes. They are also topping up water supplies (yesterday in Tennysons Lane and today in Scotland Lane) by pumping water directly into the water supply.
Haslemere Town Councillor, Cllr Ellis wrote:
Haslemere Town Councillor, Cllr Weldon confirmed emergencies supplies are being delivered to priority households and collection points are being arranged:
This is not the first time Haslemere has run out water, and is a wake-up call that key infrastructure issues – like the supply of water – must be addressed (not just in Haslemere but also across the Thames Basin) where towns are mandated to take hundreds of new houses imposed by central government. Clearly significant investment is going to be required. Central government must take the lead and utility companies must legally be required to fulfil their obligations.
Climate change, with more frequent extreme weather events will exacerbate the fragility of our water supply- action must be taken as a matter of urgency.
Councillors have received the update below from Thames Water’s Local Government Liaison Officer:
I am writing to update you on ongoing water supply issues to properties in and around the Haslemere area.
From earlier this morning, supplies in our reservoir that serves properties to the south west of Haslemere were outstripped by record demand, which had gradually depleted these supplies over the past few days.
During this time, our engineers were able to employ tankers to manage these levels, but demand has now exceeded this supply and so we have begun to see reports of no water from residents stretching into this afternoon. These reports are likely to continue through the remainder of the day as demand drops and our reservoir is able to replenish itself.
We wholly recognise the disruption this interruption will cause to residents, and our teams are working to set up bottled water stations in the area, the locations of which I will share with you as soon as I can. These stations will work on a drive-through basis to allow residents to collect water in line with current government guidance on social distancing.
We are also reviewing our Priority Services Register (PSR) to deliver bottled water directly to those who most need it, which residents can sign on to using this link: https://www.thames-psr.org/.
It may be helpful to explain that record dry weather is combining with current lockdown restrictions to cause unprecedented demand on our network, as residents stay home in exceptional numbers. To offer some sense of the scale, on Bank Holiday Monday alone we pumped an extra 63 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water in the Thames Valley – around a third more than normal.
As such, we are asking residents to help reduce demand by using water sparingly, either by switching off hoses and sprinklers, avoiding washing cars or taking only short showers, and I would be very grateful for any support your teams can lend in driving these messages, especially at peak draw hours.
We will continue to update residents through the day, and we will provide a further update to you and your colleagues as these issues progress.
Local Government Liaison