Thirsty cows? Bottled water?

A farmer with 400 cows was told to get six bottles of water during recent water disruption in Surrey

In the last couple of days, people in Surrey have had to queue up to get bottles of water to drink while farmers feared their cattle will break out in search of water.

Residents in Surrey and Sussex saw their taps out of water because of a reported failure at Netley Mill Water Treatment Works which is owned and operated by Thames Water.

Laurence Matthews, who has 400 cattle in Manor Farm Surrey describes what happened and that his farm was in a “desperate situation”.

Speaking to ELN, Mr Matthews said: “I warned Thames Water on Saturday morning – I said look you need to address this because we are going to have a desperate situation. I think the issue behind this was the lack of resources and a lack of communication. Because they just did not communicate.

“I reported that to them, and they said they will come back, they didn’t come back and we had no water. And when they did come back, they sent me a tweet saying well, you’ve got to pick up some bottles of water. What’s the use of six bottles of water? I’ve got 400 cattle. And how I do give it to them anyway?

“I need a tanker load of water and I need it in the next two hours. And it just wasn’t communication there.”

The farmer added this was not the first time he had experienced a disruption. He said: “There was a break in water supply in June, a very brief one. There was a major disruption in February this year for three days.

“My personal view is this with the water company, I think the system, the infrastructure is very old and breaking down. I don’t think they are investing enough in it and they need to because this problem is going to get worse and worse.

“And I think they need a backup system in place for when the infrastructure breaks down.”

A Thames Water spokesperson told ELN: “Netley Mill Water Treatment Works is back in service and running normally. We’re really sorry that it has taken longer than expected to return all supplies to normal.

“Our team are busy identifying and unblocking air pockets in the systems, to help get supplies back to normal as soon as possible.

“Again, we’re really sorry for these prolonged problems. We’re very aware how worrying and disruptive it is to be without water, especially during hot weather. We’ll continue to keep our website and social media updated with our progress.”

Thames Water said it will invest more than £55 million over the next five years to upgrade Guildford’s water supply and ensure it can meet increased demand from thousands of new homes.

This investment follows the ongoing £1.8 million upgrade of Netley Mill Water Treatment Works which supplies 8,500 properties in Cranleigh and the surrounding villages via Hurtwood, Alderbrook and Lambswood reservoirs.

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