English Floods Leave Hundreds of Thousands Without Water

July 24, 2007

Nearly 150,000 homes were left without drinking water Monday after the worst floodwaters in 60 years washed over large areas of western England.

CNN reports that the British military and rescue workers have been working to save a major electricity substation on the outskirts of Gloucester, England, that currently serves about 500,000 homes. Additionally, about 1,000 Royal Navy personnel were building an emergency barrier to keep the Walham substation from flooding.

About 50,000 homes had already been left without electricity before the substation was threatened.

Both the Thames and the Severn, two major rivers in the area are well above their normal levels and may in fact burst at their banks.

Acccording to CNNBritain's Environment Agency has warned water levels could rise to a "critical level" and the Agency has issued nine severe flood warnings across the country.

The areas that have been most affected by the rains have been the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire, which suffered from more over 5 inches of rain in barely 24 hours.

The forecast calls for more rain and the risk of flooding increases as the rain ends up in the river system.

In the city of Gloucester, the River Severn is already almost 15 feet above its normal level for this time of year. Electricity and water supplies in and around the city have already been cut for many residents, after a water treatment plant and electricity substation were flooded.

Officials told CNN that it would be at least 48 hours before they could gain access to the Mythe Water Pumping Station in Tewkesbury to reinstate the water supply to the 70,000 customers in Tewkesbury, Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced increased funding for flood and coastal defenses across the country.

Source: CNN