Image above: Library image – A Thames Water van
Schools close and hospitals receive emergency water deliveries due to power outage
Thames Water’s CEO has promised to conduct a comprehensive review after thousands of buildings in west and south-west London experienced disruption to their water supply. A power supply issue on Wednesday (13 September) at a Thames Water plant led to schools closing and low or no water pressure in several areas, including W4.
The outage, which happened at Thames Water’s Ashford and Hampton treatment facilities, resulted in low or no water pressure across 50 postcodes. The incident forced schools to shut down temporarily.
Cathryn Ross, interim joint chief executive of Thames Water, addressed the London Assembly’s environment committee during an afternoon meeting. She acknowledged the gravity of the situation and committed to investigating the root cause of the problem and the effectiveness of Thames Water’s response.
The committee’s Labour chair, Leonie Cooper, asked Ms Ross “how on earth” the incident had happened, adding that it was “not a great look” for the company.
Image above: West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth
Bottled water distributed
After apologising for the disruption, Ms Ross said: “We will do a review. We will look at what the root cause was, we’ll look at whether there was anything we could have done better, and we’ll obviously learn lessons.”
She said that as far as the company was aware at this stage, the issue was caused by a power outage, rather than a fault of Thames Water’s own equipment.
“Within an hour of the original outage, we had begun to restore flow,” she added.
To mitigate the impact on affected residents, the company established three bottled water distribution points at strategic locations in the affected area. These stations will remain operational until the situation is fully resolved.
Several institutions, including the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney and the West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth, were affected by the disruption. Thames Water offered tanker supplies to these hospitals, but they managed to return to normal water supply before needing additional assistance.
The Shooting Star Children’s Hospice in Hampton also experienced water supply issues but had an alternative water source available.
The affected postcodes include SW4, SW8, SW9, SW13, SW14, SW15, SW18, SW19, TW1, TW2, TW3, TW4, TW5, TW7, TW8, TW9, TW10, TW11, TW12, TW13, TW14, TW17, W1H, W1H, W1M, W1N, W2, W3, W4, W6, W7, W10, W12, W13, and W14.