For anyone to have to put up with sewage seeping into their garden once would be bad enough.
But to live with a problem as unpleasant and disgusting as this for 20 years is simply not acceptable.
We can understand why residents in two Bedhampton streets are so angry.
In fact, we defy anyone not to imagine themselves in the same situation and feel anything other than blind fury.
It’s not as if the company responsible for the leaky sewage pipes doesn’t know what causes the problem.
Southern Water is well aware that heavy rain leads to flooding in Brooklands and Maylands Road because there’s a discrepancy in the diameter of the pipes there.
But the company has decided that increasing the sewer capacity would cost too much and that not enough of its customers are affected to warrant the investment.
The crucial word here of course is customers. These residents pay Southern Water for a service and have a right to expect that the company should fulfil its end of the bargain.
A business as large and as profitable as Southern Water shouldn’t need to be hassled into action. It has a duty of care so we’re not surprised to hear that residents feel let down.
We are however glad to learn that the company does plan to do something and urge bosses to make sure that the twice-yearly jetting programme it has promised to undertake is kept up.
Keeping the sewer free-flowing should be a priority – especially now that the summer is over and the weather can soon be expected to take a turn for the worse.
The one thing we can be guaranteed a lot of in this country is rain but each heavy shower must leave these Bedhampton residents worried about what they will find in their gardens.
These people don’t want to hear that a multi-agency approach might be needed. They just want to know that something is going to be done – and quickly.
Southern Water must stop making excuses and do all it can to stop these unfortunate floods.