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Loughton's Water Supply


14 January 2021Tap
Can we have a normal, regular water supply?

See also Valley Hill/Oakwood Hill Burst Water Main and Water Supply Problems - What To Do below

As residents will be all too aware, during the weekend before Christmas there was no water or low pressure to large parts of Loughton for three days. This is down to chronic underinvestment for decades - most of Loughton's pipes are Victorian and of iron.

Our understanding is that water supplied into Loughton is normally from four trunk mains. One of those at Valley Hill/Oakwood Hill was out of action from an earlier incident (see below). Then in the early morning of December 17th, another main alongside the High Road leading from Buckhurst Hill burst, leaving the town dependent on the two trunk mains that come into town along Earls Path. That is why the water pressure was low or non-existent for many residents. It was discovered that there were exposed cables near the burst pipe which required assistance from UK Power Networks on site, thus delaying the pipe repair. Thames Water cannot just double the pressure in the remaining mains, because they would then be in danger of bursting.

There have also been repeated leaks at various locations on other occasions, such as the top of Alderton Hill and outside Loughton Police Station (High Road/Forest Road).

The LRA-led Town Council has recently had two sessions with Thames Water about the poor service Loughton has been receiving. As a result, Thames Water has promised a better service – see their letter. The Town Council will be monitoring their performance, but in the end, Thames are a private utility answerable to no public authority.

The inconsistent and incomplete messages during these incidents from Thames Water were unhelpful, to say the least.
 
Thames Water have said that compensation payments will be made automatically and will be writing to you if you’re one of the households who've been affected. More. However we know some residents are sceptical about the process of getting automatic compensation from Thames Water so you can make a claim online (choose 'Water supply not duly restored after interruption’).

LRA has reported this, and other incidents on many other occasions. We too are completely fed up with the situation. The problem is that Thames Water are a foreign-owned private company, unresponsive in general, and sitting on an infrastructure which is decayed and no longer robust, failing on almost a daily basis.

Valley Hill/Oakwood Hill Burst Water Main

Valley HillAs a result of the burst water main on December 2nd Valley Hill remains closed, pending the repair of the pipe by Thames Water.  This has caused significant problems to residents, with traffic diversions causing speeding or congested traffic on back roads and no 167 bus service as that is now diverted away from the area.

The burst pipe is complicated to repair. Loughton Brook runs in a concrete channel culvert under Valley Hill, and the pipe to be repaired is under that. The culvert needs to be carefully protected during the work to stop it collapsing. Thames Water have promised various dates for completion of the work (for example see here); the latest is that it will be complete by January 23rd.

Valley Hill

The LRA-led Town Council continues to highlight the problems for residents to both Thames Water and Essex Highways and is urging them to get the work done without further delay, and that they should communicate better with residents and Cllrs about what is going on.


Water Supply Problems - What To Do