Leak leaves disabled man without water
PUBLISHED: 11:58 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:33 27 November 2019
A disabled man has been left without water for more than a week after a water main burst.
The taps ran dry at Nigel Smith's house at Upwell, near Wisbech on Tuesday, November 19.
Engineers came out the following day to look for a leak in the pipe supplying the four-bed home, which is down a track off the March Riverside.
Anglian Water has told Mr Smith will be his responsibility to fix the broken main when they find it, because it belongs to him.
But the company had previously told him in writing that it owned the pipe up to the boundary of his 120-year-old property.
When he queried this, the firm told Mr Smith it had changed its procedures and a letter dated September 2004 stating it owned the pipe up to his boundary was no longer relevant.
Retired musician Mr Smith, 60, is registered disabled following a liver transplant. His condition renders him vulnerable to infections.
But he and wife Frances, also 60, have been using water collected from butts to flush the loo and bottled water to drink, cook and wash with supplied by Anglian Water.
"They say that the pipe is privately owned by us and that they will not repair it," said Mr Smith. "I was told they changed their procedures in 2014 and that we owned the pipe and also that the letter was old and not relevant.
"I have told them that I am registered disabled following a liver transplant. I sent a letter from Addenbrookes transplant department stating my vulnerability regarding infections and the need for water to maintain my personal hygiene."
A spokesman for Anglian Water said: "Our team are currently investigating the location of a leak on a private water supply in Mill Rigg, Upwell. One property is currently off water and we are working to provide a temporary supply.
"However, we have been providing bottled water to this property since we were notified of the issue. We aim to narrow down the location of the leak to assist the customer affected to enable them to have the repair completed, however due to the location of the existing pipe work this may take some time."