Burst water main

Thousands of people don’t have access to water

Pipes freeze, then they burst. Should water companies have been better prepared?

Remember when it snowed? Lol, jk, of course you do it's all anyone talked about all week. Not only did it cost the UK economy £1bn a day – it burst so many of our water pipes that Thames Water alone is tackling three times the normal amount of leaks at the moment, and 1,500 homes still don't have any water.

What it means: Ofwat, the UK's water regulator, says the private companies managing the water supply weren't well-prepared enough for Storm Emma. MPs have called for an urgent inquiry into why that was.

MPs are saying it's another sign that the industry isn't "fit for purpose" – i.e. the whole idea that private firms can manage public services better than the government is flawed.

Companies are setting up stations across the country for people to pick up bottled water to tide them over. They've also offered people automatic compensation of £20 each, plus £10 for each further day they're without water. But some people aren't too satisfied with that as an apology, especially given Thames Water makes over £600m in profits each year.

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