Fringe Box



Council Leader Has Serious Questions for Thames Water

Published on: 6 Nov, 2023
Updated on: 6 Nov, 2023

By Martin Giles

The leader of Waverley Borough Council says he has serious questions to ask Thames Water in the wake of water supply issues that are still reported to be affecting 12,000 homes in Guildford and Waverley.

The problem has mostly affected homes in Waverley where some schools are understood to have closed today but homes in Guildford, particularly in Onslow Village, have also been impacted.

See also: Guildford’s Water Supply Should ‘Gradually Return’ to Normal Over Next 24 hrs

Similar problems that have occurred over the last twelve months have raised suspicions that the problem is not solely linked to Storm Ciaran as Thames Water has claimed. There have been similar problems in the past, both in the last twelve months, in April (see: Low Water Pressure Reported in Guildford) and in November 2022 (see: Thames Water to ‘Work Through the Night’ to Fix Guildford’s Water Supply).

Cllr Paul Follows (Lib Dem) told The Dragon today (Monday, November 6): “At the moment, we are concentrating on getting supplies to those who need it, especially the vulnerable. But I will be pressing Thames Water to give a full account of what happened.

Cllr Paul Follows

“I have been told that Storm Ciaran caused a power outage that led to the problem but the storm was not severe here and one would expect backup systems for critical utilities such as water.

“Residents can rest assured that I will be pressing for answers and reassurance.”

The specific cause of the problem has not been given by Thames Water. This morning The Dragon asked the head of their media team:

1. What was the damage caused by storm Ciaran at the Shalford Water Treatment Plant?
2. How many customers/premises are affected in total?
3. How many homes in Guildford Borough are affected? Can you break down the total number by postcode?

4. Why are some homes unaffected even though others nearby are? (Is there a map showing where homes get their supply from?)

So far we have not received a reply.

On its website the latest statement from Thames water says:

“We’ve now opened a third bottled water station after Storm Ciaran caused issues at Shalford Water Treatment Works. You can find us at:

“Our engineers have made improvements at Shalford. However, supplies are likely to only gradually return over the course of today. We’d like to apologise if you’ve been affected by these issues across GU1, GU2, GU3, GU5, GU6, GU7 and GU8.

“Although the situation is improving, we need to refill underground reservoirs which have run very low. We’re continuing to operate a fleet of tankers, pumping water into the local supply network.

Cllr Angela Goodwin

“Thank you for bearing with us – we know how worrying and inconvenient it is to be without water and are continuing to work to get things back to normal.”

Guildford Borough Councillor Angela Goodwin (Lib Dem, Onslow) tweeted yesterday a statement from GBC leader Julia McShane: “Can I thank residents for keeping cool and helping others, the TW staff handing out water, GBC officers who have been working over the weekend to help and my team of amazing councillors who have been helping however and wherever they can.”

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Responses to Council Leader Has Serious Questions for Thames Water

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 6, 2023 at 3:53 pm

    If only! I raised water supply as one of the infrastructure in the local Plan as cllr Furness was responsible at that time perhaps he would like to comment on why he ignored this known problem in 2016! When pushing the local Plan through especially as he claimed to have had direct conversations with the chief executive of Thames water at that time!

  2. Stuart Green Reply

    November 7, 2023 at 12:02 am

    Now properties in GU1 that had escaped the water issues across the area have lost their water, as of about 10pm on 6/11/23.

    Seems strange we had escaped and then Thames Water set up water bottle distribution at Sainsburys Burpham earlier. Did they know something we didn’t?

    Once again no communication from probably the worst company to deal with in the UK. They should be stripped of their water delivery licence for their total incompetence.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    November 7, 2023 at 5:51 am

    Again, we have the GBC leader keeping her head down in her bunker, and having other councillors speaking for her. And then the relayed message merely thanking residents for “keeping cool”, rather than tackling TW head on.

    What a shambles!

  4. Adam Aaronson Reply

    November 7, 2023 at 8:51 am

    The planning inspector at the Wisley Airfield inquiry should note that if Thames Water cannot even maintain a water supply to the residents of Guildford and Waverley it is extremely unlikely that they will be able to maintain supplies to the proposed development.

  5. Cecilia Scott Reply

    November 7, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you for this update.

    As a consumer, who has not had the service I am paying for be supplied, and who relies on such an essential service, I would like a full explanation,including:
    – why a power outage affects water supply?
    – how the system works (ie as mentioned…some people have water, while their neighbours do not)?
    – why the reservoirs are low after so much rain (albeit after a dry summer)?

    As well as all the associated questions re why there was so much disruption after a not very severe storm etc.

    I hope that Cllr Follows will be rigorous and determined in getting clear answers.

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