'I'm furious': Long queues form as thousands left without water

A major incident has been declared by Surrey County Council as thousands of households are without water.

Thames Water has apologised to residents for the inconvenience, saying it is dealing with the "technical issues" at Shalford treatment works in Guildford "caused by Storm Ciaran".

It has meant residents have had to travel to bottled water stations set up at Godalming Crown Court car park and Arlington Park and Ride in Old Portsmouth Road.

At the water station in Godalming, dozens of cars backed up waiting for water - causing congestion in the local area.

Thames Water representatives have been handing out two cases per household, with each case containing 12 bottles.

"I'm furious," said Serena Howard from Milford, who had been waiting in the queue for two hours to collect cases of water for herself and her neighbours.

"Where is the water for the people?" she asked.

Ms Howard said she was supposed to be on a priority list to get water delivered to her house because she and her daughter both have medical issues, but said she struggled to get through to anyone who could help and had to make the journey to collect it herself, despite being disabled.

"I have had my large bowel removed so I have diarrhoea... I can't eat without it going straight through me. We have had to use the pond water to flush the toilet," she said.

However, Ms Howard explained it was her young daughter she was worried about, who has recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

She said: "She is running high because she hasn't had enough fluid today, she hasn't had enough fluid to keep the sugar down, in her case if it drops too low it's dangerous, if she goes too high - she is damaging her organs."

Ms Howard eventually collected seven cases in total, some for her and others for her neighbours who she said have small children.

She was happy to help, but said: "I don't feel it [should] be up to a disabled person to have to go out and help the others."

Read more:
Flood warnings remain after Storm Ciaran - but rain expected to pass

Posting to X, formerly known as Twitter, Thames Water said it expects to continue providing bottled water today - and while progress has been made to fix the fault, reservoirs need to be filled.

There is a concern that, if the technical issues are not fixed, children could be kept off school - with parents having to find last-minute childcare cover.

Paul is among those concerned, as the water in his household ran out on Saturday afternoon.

"It's affected a lot. We can't wash or anything, we can't do anything. It's terrible."

He explained he and his wife both work full time, adding: "One of us will have to take a day off to look after them. It's not good. Not good at all."