by Tom Martin (July 2022)

HOUSEHOLDS across south Sefton endured a weekend without any water supply due to a burst pipe, with many residents forced to queue for hours to use emergency bottle stations.

Around 30,000 properties  across Litherland, Bootle, Crosby, Seaforth and Waterloo woke up on Saturday morning to either no water or very low pressure due to a burst pipe on Church Road.

United Utilities (UU) staff worked throughout the weekend to fix the problem and taps started to flow for most homes by Sunday evening.

The company said on Monday that the water pressure will begin to return to full power over the coming days, but could be discoloured.

UU officials added that residents should not contact them for compensation as this will be done “automatically.”

Such was the scale of the water shortage that Sefton Council declared a ‘major incident’ and water bottles were delivered to vulnerable residents and care homes.

With many supermarkets quickly selling out of water, ‘emergency water bottle stations’ were set up at a number of locations, with hundreds of cars queuing up.

More than 120,000 bottles of water were handed out at these water stations and UU’s priority service customers and nursing homes received 10,000 bottles.

One desperate resident from Litherland reportedly drove as far as Warrington in order to get his hands on bottles on water.

Many local businesses were affected and unable to open.

Rock Salt, on Coronation Road, posted on social media on Sunday: “Due to the situation in Crosby at the minute with no water we are unable to open.”

A spokesperson for United Utilities said: “We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding over the weekend.

“We’re really sorry for the disruption to your water supply, caused by a large burst on Church Road. The

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damage was severe and led to an extremely complex repair, which took longer than we’d hoped to complete.

“Restoring supplies has been our top priority and our teams have worked round the clock to complete the repair. Where possible we have had water tankers pumping additional supplies into the network to help with attempts to get taps flowing again.

“There could be a delay in your water pressure returning to what you are used to, as we have to turn the water on gradually after a repair to avoid further problems. Sometimes after a repair, discolouration to supplies may occur, this is due to the repair work on the pipe and should clear after a short time.

“Please be assured, we will be keeping a very close eye on the situation over the next couple of days to ensure all customer’s supplies do return to normal.”

Any household left without water for more than 12 hours would be contacted automatically regarding compensation.

On Sunday, Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram tweeted that the situation residents faced was “completely unacceptable.”

Mr Rotheram said he would meet UU to investigate the incident. The mayor added that he - alongside Bootle MP Peter Dowd and Sefton Central’s MP Bill Esterson - would ask UU to make a donation to a local food bank as a gesture of goodwill.

Offering “sincere apologies”, UU said it had already started to process compensation to those affected.

A spokesman said 285,000 messages had been sent out across the weekend to keep customers informed, as well as updates on the UU website and social media.

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