Water is safe to drink after fault, declares Portsmouth Water director

Flooding in North Hill, Fareham
Flooding in North Hill, Fareham
A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton

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THE head of Portsmouth Water has moved to quash rumours that its supply is contaminated after a fault left 800 homes without water.

The utility’s managing director, Neville Smith, said some people had commented on social media that the water was unsafe to drink, which was untrue.

Mr Smith said: ‘There have been some comments on Facebook that the water is contaminated, but there is no evidence of that and the water is safe to drink.’

About 800 Gosport homes were without water following a control valve failure in Redlands Lane, Fareham yesterday at about 2pm.

Mr Smith said one of the mains was on the A32 between the villages of Wickham and Knowle and the others were in Fareham. He said it caused water mains to burst and flood.

‘As as a result of the incident we had a couple of broken mains and they’re being repaired,’ he said.

‘The shock of the system closing created a lot of pressure and caused the mains to burst.’

Workers opened two bypass valves to bring in water from other areas and water was restored after 40 minutes.

People had reported low pressure and water being cut off in Hill Head and Stubbington, as well as Gosport.

Mr Smith said it was unclear what caused the failure. He said: ‘We’re still investigating the cause of it.’

An 88-year-old man and his daughter bore the brunt of flooding.

Daniel Steer and daughter, Jane Leeson, 62, were at their home at the bottom of North Hill, Fareham, when the fault sent a torrent of water heading their way.

Mrs Leeson said she could barely believe her eyes when she saw the flood. She said: ‘It was terrible, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like somebody opened the floodgates coming down our drive.

‘Within five minutes the kitchen and the dining room were flooded and it was getting into the lounge as well.’

The carpets were under three inches of water by the time the pair left.

Mrs Leeson said their insurance company had agreed to put them up in a bed and breakfast overnight.

She said: ‘My dad’s in a bit of shock. Everything is so wet we won’t know the full extent of what damage has been done to the furniture. The carpets are going to have to go in the skip.’