Hundreds of homes and businesses have been left without water again following a serious burst to a major water main on Pimlico Road servicing Chatburn and the Salthill area of Clitheroe. Residents took to social media to say they have either had no water or very low pressure since early the early morning. The burst was first reported by United Utilities at 5.45am on Monday 10th September. It is estimated that over a thousand homes have been effected and Students from Clitheroe Grammar School sent home under Emergency Protocols put in operation when the school has no waterThis follows on from a similar incident which took place in July 2014 when 1,038 homes were left without any water for 13 hours and 25 minutes.
A spokesman for United Utilities said, “We have our Water on Wheels tankers onsite pumping water back into the main to help restore and maintain supplies in the area,” indicating the scale and seriousness of the problem.
County Councillor Ian Brown, who represents Clitheroe on Lancashire County Council and the Salthill Ward in Clitheroe on Ribble Valley Borough Council. Cllr Brown states, "This shouldn’t be happening in a modern developed country. I wonder whether this isn’t related to all the house building that is taking place in Clitheroe. United Utilities have a lot of questions to answer - in particular whether the underground water supply infrastructure in Clitheroe can cope with all the new build that is yet to take place. All we seem to hear from United Utilities in respect of Large Planning Applications are in relation to Flood Risk Assessments and whether drainage can cope not whether the existing underground supply network is adequate and can cope. This needs to change. I have real fears about what will happen when large scale building gets underway at Standen and Waddow View. I’m not being funny but this is the 2nd major burst in Clitheroe in just over 4 years when homes have been left without water for an extended period. It’s not good enough. We need a meeting with United Utilities urgently so that they can explain themselves.”
Cllr Ged Mirfin states, “This is only one of many in a long line of incidents where local residents have been left with no water for long periods following burst water mains in the Ribble Valley over the last 3 months. There have been 4 in Billington alone, 1 in Read last week and of course today’s incident in Clitheroe. My recent Freedom of Information Request to United Utilities under the Environment Protection Legislation reveals that Ribble Valley has been particularly vulnerable to burst water mains. Over the last 8 years there have been 62 burst water mains in the Ribble Valley where residents have been left without water for an average of 8 hours 8.8 Minutes. Like Councillor Ian Brown I wonder how much of this is down to new housing and the existing underground supply infrastructure being unable to cope. It can’t be a coincidence.”
Cllr Ken Hind, the Leader of Ribble |Valley Borough Council who represents the Dilworth Ward in Longridge, concludes, "I will be calling for an Emergency Meeting with United Utilities to find out just what is going on. 6 major bursts in the last 3 months raises a number of questions about the vulnerability of parts of the old underground water supply infrastructure.. We need to quickly find out whether the underground water supply infrastructure is adequate. As I’ve said before, a serious assessment of the adequacy of the existing water supply pipe network across the Ribble Valley needs to take place. When it is revealed that United Utilities are losing c.25% of the water in their network through leaks and bursts then this is nowhere near good enough. It is important that in the short to medium term as Cllr Brown states that United Utilities are held to account to ensure surety of supply."
You can read a previous article about concerns about previous burst water mains at: