Households across the south east remain without water and schools have been forced to close as supply issues affect parts of Kent and Sussex.
The outage has impacted areas including Rotherfield, Mayfield, Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough and Wadhurst, but South East Water have not provided an estimate on how many homes are without water.
Despite calls for intervention by the council, the Lib-Dem/Green coalition running Wealden have refused to activate emergency procedures. The request has even been denied by Lib-Dem council Leader, James Partridge, who lives in Rotherfield, one of the worst affected areas.
South-East water has blamed the hot weather for contributing to the disaster although admit that they’ve suffered infrastructure failures with burst pipes and leaks, and yet remains adamant that it will not declare a critical incident.
“Being what’s known as a Category One responder, Wealden District Council could declare a major incident which would then bring in other agencies automatically, not least the county council and Sussex Resilience Forum”, adds Cllr Newton. “The systems are in place for catastrophes such as this. The wheels need to be put in motion, now.”
We have heard from one person that they have 20 horses and no water supply. The issue is unfolding with little support from Wealden District Council or South East Water and has been labelled by some residents as a natural disaster with real implications for homes, schools, and especially rural areas dependent on water for livestock.
Local MP, Nus Ghani has tweeted:
Ground hog day with @sewateruk unmanned bottle stations. Will continue raise all high risk cases and push for a hose pipe ban.
I hear new @wealdendistrict still hasn’t responded to calls for an urgent meeting or stood up gold command to coordinate water stations. Please update. https://t.co/QFW1p9N0l5
— Nus Ghani MP (@Nus_Ghani) June 14, 2023