27 Jul 2007

Severn Trent profits but still no bowsers

Around 15,000 people in Stroud District from Hardwicke across to Chalford are without a water supply (plus of course another 115,000 across the rest of the County).

Photo: There was an amazing rainbow over Ruscombe yesterday

For those of us without water and indeed the many who are in worse situations it comes a little hard to learn that profits for the company this year will be nearly £300 million - thats' £1.1 billion in profits in 5 years - last year alone £580 million was handed over to shareholders.

Promises made by Severn Trent about providing bowsers and replenishing them have not materialised. Severn Trent clearly have lessons to learn from this - as probably we all do - of 59 bowsers promised for the affected area in Stroud District, less than 50% have been provided and around half of those provided have no water now.

Delivery of bowsers has also been fraught with difficulties: some bowsers have been placed in areas that have tap water while one apparently insisted on touring Chalford for 2 hours despite the village not having a bowser at that time and it could have spent more time refilling bowsers that are empty.

Stroud District Council have apparently intervened as they are "no longer willing for this chaotic and demoralising situation to continue" - and offered Severn Trent that staff will 'ride shotgun' on vehicles to guide them to the right locations. This will save them time and help them deliver their promise. It is indeed wholly unacceptable that since Monday many households have had no water.

Heres a bit from the Districts update bulletin about some of what they are doing:

• Continuing to take water to vulnerable and elderly people in the area - we have been doing this since Monday when the water supply began to run out
• Organising the distribution of bottled water from six supermarkets and garden centres that we set up and staffed

• Offering everyone in the affected area free shower facilities at Stratford Park Leisure Centre and Dursley Pool. Stonehouse Town Council will be offering similar facilities from their Oldends Lane building from Friday
• Providing 20 bottled water distribution points at village and community halls within the affected area
• Continuing to operate our customer service centre for telephone enquiries until 9pm and from 7am

• Providing up to date information on our websitewww.stroud.gov.uk
• Working closely with parish councils and voluntary organisations on distributing bottled water and meeting the needs of vulnerable people

• Ensuring staff and their families in the affected area can fill water bottles and take showers at Ebley Mill

Volunteers called for

The District Council are calling for more volunteers as the emergency runs into the weekend. Although they are being careful about the hours worked in a shift, staff currently involved need to have a break.

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