‘At my absolute wit’s end’: Parents of nine-month-old baby who were left with ‘no water for 48 hours’ BLOCK in Thames Water van and demand help after facing ‘desperate’ two days in vile conditions
- Water supply to family’s High Wycombe home cut off at around 7pm on Monday
- Chris Oxley, 40, and Sarah McCrory, 43, explained this was due to a pipe leak
- The parents said they had phoned ‘incompetent’ Thames Water around 10 times
- Water companies recently criticised for bosses’ bonuses as infrastructure creaks
A frustrated father blocked a Thames Water van in the road and demanded the driver call his manager so he could finally get running water in his family home which he claims has been left without for more than 48 hours.
The water supply to the family’s High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire home cut off at around 7pm on Monday due to a leak in their road’s pipes and is yet to restart, said car salesman Chris Oxley, 40, and partner Sarah McCrory, 43.
Ms McCrory says she has been having to drive 20 miles to her mother’s house to wash her nine-month-old baby’s clothes, bottles and food utensils, and has been unable to adequately bathe her young child for two days.
She said she has also been forced to give her infant bottled water to drink when it is not as healthy for babies as tap water.
On Wednesday morning a Thames Water van turned up carrying water, and frustrated Mr Oxley said that the driver had no more information about when the pipes would be fixed, so requested to speak to the driver’s manager.
When the driver insisted this would not be possible, Mr Oxley said he ‘forced the situation’ and blocked in the van with his own car.
Mr Oxley alleged the driver responded with ‘f*** you’ and an obscene gesture, before the driver called the police on him.
A tearful mother, a worn out father and their baby have been left without water for over 48 hours and counting, facing incompetence from Thames Water at every turn that led to his blocking in their van, said the parents
Mr Oxley claimed the police arrived on the scene and, as is laid out in the Highway Code, advised him he had to move his car, which he then did.
‘After we suffered abuse from the engineer and then no water for so long, they called the police on US,’ an incredulous Ms McCrory said.
The family said they have had to wash their hands and flush the loos very infrequently, which has stunk the house out, while a smell of off milk is lingering in the kitchen as the remains of unfinished baby bottles sit in the sink pipes.
‘I’m feeling at my utter, absolute wit’s end,’ said the mother. ‘I’m desperate.
‘I’ve been in tears on the phone to people [Thames Water] who just won’t help.
‘It’s all made me very anxious. It’s given me a real hit of anxiety. In the past I’ve suffered with anxiety and while it’s been fine now, this has set it off again.
‘I just feel helpless.
‘There’s the promise of water every time yet no water turns up.’
Ms McCrory and Mr Oxley said that, between themselves and the four other households on their road that include an elderly couple and other families with young children, they had phoned Thames Water around 10 times over the past few days.
The company first visited the road at around 11pm on Monday, said the pair, and it has since ‘become farcical’, with the family now having woken up on two mornings still without water.
The ongoing incident culminated this morning when a Thames Water van turned up carrying water
Mr Oxley explained that the driver had no more information as to when the pipes would be fixed, so the 40-year-old requested to speak to the driver’s manager. When the driver insisted this would not be possible, Mr Oxley said he ‘forced the situation’ and blocked in the van with his own car
Among the ‘incompetency’ they were faced with, the pair said they were told the water had been fixed when no one had even turned up yet to fix it; workers should have shown up at certain times but then never appeared; and they were informed of a leak that was fixed before finding out it was located miles away.
‘Every time you speak to them you get a different story,’ said Mr Oxley, who has been ongoingly fielding calls while at work.
And Ms McCrory said the family did not receive any bottled water from Thames Water, despite their being classed as a vulnerable household. This was because the parents had not registered as a vulnerable household – but they were not told this by the firm for 24 hours. During this time, Ms McCrory was having to drive to fill up containers at her mother’s and neighbours’ houses.
Mr Oxley said that following Wednesday’s encounter, the driver phoned workers to come and attempt to fix the pipes again later that day.
But yet more holes have been dug and the leak has still not been found, the parents told MailOnline this evening as they sat in their house still without water while the investigations continued.
‘We’re sitting here with no water without a clue,’ said Mr Oxley.
‘We’ve got baby puke and baby poo to deal with.
‘I understand it’s ‘first world problems’, but we pay these people to do this.’
The couple said their grievances primarily lie with head office.
‘The money we pay doesn’t go into the infrastructure,’ added Mr Oxley.
As reported in the Daily Mail, recent analysis of Companies House records by the Liberal Democrats shows executives at England’s water and sewage firms earned £48million in 2020 and 2021, including £27.6million in bonuses, benefits and incentives.
Thames Water, which is threatening to bring in a hosepipe ban, has been caught up in a row about its failure to run a £250million desalination plant designed to deliver up to 100million litres of water a day during droughts. Its executives were paid around £5million despite the failure.
At the weekend, the firm, whose boss Sarah Bentley earned around £1.25million in pay and bonuses last year, asked Londoners to save water by taking shorter showers.
Ms McCrory and Mr Oxley are by no means the only household currently experiencing problems with their water.
Mr Oxley alleged the driver responded with ‘f*** you’ and an obscene gesture, before the driver called the police on him
The scene at Hornsey Road and surrounding area including Harvist Estate and Sobell Leisure Centre in Islington in north London where firefighters were dealing with a burst water main that caused flooding of about four feet
During one of the hottest summers on record, furious residents watched as water cascaded through streets, while homes and businesses were left without supplies in Islington, north London. Homeowners were urged to move to higher ground as more than 70 firefighters battled rapidly rising water levels.
The ‘tsunami’ of water sparked anger at the poor performance of water companies that reward their bosses with fat salaries and bonuses while presiding over creaking infrastructure.
This has all led to calls from critics like the Liberal Democrats and The Rivers Trust charity for water bosses to be banned from earning bonuses until they fix mains leaks that waste billions of litres of water daily.
Ms McCrory and Mr Oxley claimed nearly two million litres of water has been lost so far in the leak on their road alone.
And the water is leaking underground, which has led the parents to fear issues like resulting structural problems to theirs and their neighbour’s homes.
Overall, Mr Oxley said he is feeling ‘worn out’ and ‘knackered’, while Ms McCrory said it has been ‘really difficult’.
‘The annoyance is that this didn’t have to go on for so long if the administation wasn’t so incompetent and kept thinking it was done and that fixing a leak miles away would help,’ she added.
‘We’re hoping we’ll wake up with water tomorrow,’ said the parents. ‘But you just don’t know.’
MailOnline has approached Thames Water and Thames Valley Police for comment.