Belfast Telegraph

NI Water crisis: We've been abandoned, say angry customers

By Adrian Rutherford

Families have described how they felt abandoned after being left to struggle without water in what they said were Third World conditions.

Although taps in some homes were starting to trickle back into action yesterday, there was no let-up in the anger.

People had to melt snow to carry out basic tasks such as flush toilets and wash their hands.

It led some to question whether the situation would have been allowed to drag on for so long if it had happened in Belfast. Ciaran Woods, who lives outside Loughmacrory in Co Tyrone, had been without water since Saturday morning.

"The weekend has been extremely difficult - we have resorted to primitive methods," he said.

"We were gathering snow at 10pm or 11pm on Saturday night and melting it on a gas stove for water to flush the toilet.

"Our youngest child is almost eight months and he had a throat infection on Saturday.

"He was running a temperature all day and we couldn't do any of the normal things like run a cold bath or a cold shower.

"It's only when you're in that situation that you realise how dependent you are on water."

john goodwin, a pensioner living in the Pomeroy area, said the situation was disgraceful.

"At the minute we are having to buy water and nobody seems to be doing anything," he said.

"It's worse for those who have no way of getting out. It is a real torture and a curse having to buy water."

Patricia Gray was unable to heat her home after her water failed.

The mother-of-four lives outside Draperstown in Co Londonderry, one of the areas worst hit by the crisis.

Her supply finally returned on Sunday night after four days.

"I'm very nervous that it could go back off again," she said.

"It's no way to live. We are ratepayers and the public shouldn't be left to suffer on the coldest weekend of the winter.

"It was awful, just horrendous. Even things as basic as washing teeth and washing yourself," she added.

"You have no idea how much you need water until it's not there."

Victor McFaul was just as upset. He said: "We are learning just how true the saying is that you don't miss the water until the well runs dry.

"It is ridiculous that this can't be sorted.

"We were without water for over a full day and although the water is back on now, it could go off again so you are afraid to use the water you do have and then you are afraid to turn on the heating too in case the water runs out and that leaves another handling."

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