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06 March 2018, 01:32 | Kenneth Drake
Icicles at the Bishopton tunnel
Ian Limb of Portsmouth Water said: 'Bursts have always been a risk when there are sudden rises in temperature which causes ground movements regardless whether they are plastic or cast iron pipes. Meanwhile, homeowners across the United Kingdom are being urged to reduce their water usage, following concerns that widespread leaks could create a national water shortage.
"While it is impossible to predict which pipes will burst and where, we have had crews on standby 24 hours a day and we have been sending them wherever they are needed".
Simon Earl, the company's operations director, asked customers only to use water "for the essentials".
In the meantime the water suppliers are prioritising supplies for vulnerable customers and providing bottled water where necessary. Where possible, take a shower instead of a bath, do not leave taps running unnecessarily and only run washing machines and dishwashers with a full load.
Thames Water, South East Water, Southern Water and Affinity Water have released a joint statement, warning of shortages across the South East of England.
About 13,000 homes supplied by South East Water are affected across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire, the company said.
Farther north, Scottish Water said there was no significant impact on its customers because Scotland had not suffered the same rapid thaw.
The company said it was providing bottled water to Wadhurst, Rotherfield, Crowborough, although for a time there was none in Lenham after earlier supplies ran out.
Extra water is being added to the local networks and emergency work to fix leaks and bursts is being carried out. This will make a real difference.
"We are getting as much extra water into our network as we can and sincerely apologise to all our customers who are now without water or who have low pressure".
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