East London: Supermarket shelves cleared as engineers find burst pipe

The San Pellegrino panic! Hipsters clear supermarket shelves of bottled water after taps run dry in East London – as engineers locate 100-year-old burst pipe (but can’t FIND IT beneath the flooding)

  • Supermarkets’ bottled water aisles were stripped bare in east London last night 
  • Thirsty Londoners were left without water overnight due to burst water pipe
  • Thames Water engineers traced the problem to Hackney Marshes yesterday
  • This morning the water should gradually return, says the water company 
  • A photograph showed a large amount of flooding caused by the 42-inch pipe 

East Londoners can expect their water supply to return ‘throughout the morning’ after engineers worked overnight to fix a 100-year-old burst water pipe, according to Thames Water.

Supermarkets’ bottled water aisles were stripped bare overnight after the problem was first reported on Tuesday afternoon at around 4.30pm.

Engineers couldn’t find the source of the problem, a ‘large water pipe’ in the Hackney Marshes area, until nearly midnight because it had caused so much flooding.

A photograph of a submerged area at Wick Woodland, caused by the 42-inch pipe, was released by the water company. 

It tweeted the image, adding: ‘Most customers should have their water supply back.  

‘We’re sorry to all impacted – the image shows where the burst occurred which flooded an area of woodland, which made it challenging for our team to find the exact location of the burst. Thank you for your patience.’ 

Engineers couldn’t find the source of the problem, a ‘large water pipe’ in the Hackney Marshes area, until nearly midnight. Thames Water said the problem has now been fixed


Supermarkets’ bottled water aisles were stripped bare overnight after taps stopped producing water in east London at around 4.30pm yesterday

The burst was in a heavily wooded area of Hackney Marshes at Wick Woodland, where Thames Water have had to block off flooded footpaths. 

A spokesman told MailOnline customers could expect their water to return this morning after engineers worked overnight.

They said: ‘The situation is improving. Our engineers have isolated the burst and customers should be experiencing a return to supply this morning. 

‘Our engineers have worked through the night and the situation is moving quite fast.’  

A supermarket aisle in Newham was left empty after Thames Water customers headed to the shops when they realised their taps had stopped working


A video circulating on social media showed a desperate scramble to buy water from a Tesco outlet in Leytonstone

A photograph of the large amount of flooding (pictured) caused by the 42-inch pipe was released by the water company. Affected paths have been shut off to the public

One social media user shared a screenshot from buying and selling website Ebay, as people with water tried to flog their supply to those living in the affected areas

Photographs shared on social media show there was a mad dash to the supermarket for bottled water. Shelves were quickly left bare in scenes last seen at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

One affected resident, Gourav Sharma, 37, from Leytonstone, told MailOnline they had been left overnight without water from 4.30pm yesterday.

It meant he and his wife Meena were unable to make formula milk for their six-month-old baby, Ishan, and had to rush to a nearby B&M store to buy bottled water. 

A video circulating on social media showed residents scrambling to buy water from a Tesco outlet in Leytonstone.  

Despite the ongoing disruption, some light-hearted residents have joked about the issue online.

One image showed a ‘jug of fresh water’ being sold on Ebay for £100.  

Another quoted Thames Water’s tweet and joked, ‘on today’s episode of East London’.

A spokesman for Thames Water apologised for the inconvenience and added ‘supplies should improve over the course of the morning’.

They said: ‘It will take some time to fully recover as pressure in the network rebuilds, meaning some customers may experience an intermittent supply. 

‘Until things are back to normal we’re continuing to prioritise assistance for vulnerable customers and will ensure they have bottled water delivered to them.

‘Overnight our engineers located and isolated the burst pipe that’s causing the problem, and we brought tankers into the area to improve the situation by pumping water straight into our local supply network.’ 

Thousands of people living in East London are without tap water after a 42-inch pipe burst, sending residents rushing to supermarkets to buy bottle supplies. 

One affected resident, Gourav Sharma, 37, from Leytonstone, told MailOnline they had no water from 4.30pm. It meant he and his wife Meena couldn’t make formula milk for their eight-month-old baby, Ishan. Pictured: Mrs Sharma with Ishan 

Thames Water said they were aware customers in postcodes E6, E7, E10, E11, E12, E13, E15, E16 and E20 had been affected. 

The areas also included parts of Forest Gate, Leyton, Newham and Plaistow.

Residents first reported a problem just before 5pm yesterday afternoon.

Mr Sharma, who works as a consultant, said: ‘The problems started at around 4.30pm. There was no water. 

‘It was a surprise, I’ve never seen it before. I’ve had no response from Thames Water. ‘

He said he had to rush to a shop to buy water to make milk for his baby son, Ihsan.  

‘We had no choice, we had to go to B&M and pick up some water bottles and there were not many. 

‘There’s still no water to flush the toilets so we will probably go to our friends’ house if this is not rectified in the morning.’ 

He added: ‘I’ve been in the UK for the past 12 years, we do face these problems back in India but we use rooftop water tanks which help you survive but here if there’s a problem you have no water at all for cleaning or flushing the toilet.’

Mr Sharma said he spent 30 minutes on the phone to Thames Water but hung up when he was unable to get through.  

Another affected resident told the firm online, ‘we currently have no water at all so please rectify the issue speedily & efficiently as you can.’ 

Thames Water earlier said they’re of aware customers in postcodes E6, E7, E10, E11, E12, E13, E15, E16 and E20 being affected

Last night Thames Water tweeted to say ‘specialist engineers’ were working to resolve the problem

A third added: ‘Can you please update us with what the issue is that caused such large scale disruption and when will this get fixed. 

‘Water is the basic necessity and we need know when can we have them running through our taps again. 

A Thames Water spokesman said yesterday: ‘We’re really sorry to those customers affected by low pressure or no water. 

‘This has been caused by a burst on a large pipe in the Hackney Marshes area. We are deploying all resources possible to fix this as a priority. 

‘It’s a complex job, but we’re drafting in more staff and working as quickly as we can so that we can begin a repair as soon as we’ve pinpointed the damaged section. 

‘In the meantime, we’ve brought tankers into the area to improve the situation by pumping water into our local supply network and working as hard as we can to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.’

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