Cumbria farmers raise animal welfare fears amid water shortage

United Utilities says it has set up a dedicated helpline for affected farmers (Photo: United Utilities)
United Utilities says it has set up a dedicated helpline for affected farmers (Photo: United Utilities)

Cumbrian farmers have highlighted their fears over ongoing water supply problems and the effect it is having on livestock health and welfare.

A special helpline for farmers has been set up by United Utilities as efforts continue to repair a major water main damaged by the recent Storm Ciara.

Supply issues in the Eden Valey have affected 8,000 homes and business in the district.

Special arrangements have already been made for 70 farmers, and any others who need support are being urged to get in touch with the water firm.

One anonymous farmer told ITV Border that the water shortages were 'getting to crisis point and if it carries on much longer animals could die.'

But progress was on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, despite the challenging weather conditions and a new water pipe has been assembled.

After the pipe is fully repaired it will take some time for water pressure to build up again in the system, due to the length of the pipe network, United Utilities said.

Farmers in the district will continue to see no water or poor pressure as the system recovers, which could take three days.

The company added it is possible that some people may notice some discolouration naturally occurring pipe sediment could be disturbed.

A massive tankering operation is underway to pump water supplies directly into the water network.

There are now 46 tankers including several from outside the North West region supporting the effort.

Martin Padley, Water Service Director at United Utilities, said: “Our tankering operation is helping to maintain some water supplies and we have drafted in additional tankers from outside the region.

“The weather conditions and rural roads are making this especially difficult for driving HGVs and we are grateful for the support of the local council here.

“It is likely to take another three days for water pressure to build again once the repairs are completed.

“In the meantime we will continue to run the bottled water stations and work with farmers to get them the extra help they need.”

Residents can collect bottled water and speak to staff from United Utilities at the following locations:

• Glenridding Village Hall, Penrith, CA11 OQA

• The Crown Inn, Ivegill, CA4 0PT

• Shap Memorial Hall, Shap, Penrith CA10 3NL

• Market Square, Kirkby Stephen, CA17 4QN

• Moot Hall, Boroughgate, Appleby-in-Westmorland, CA16 6XE

• Pooley Bridge Village Hall, Pooley Bridge, Penrith, CA10 2NL

• Greystoke Village Greystoke, Penrith, CA11 0TP

• Tebay Services (Northbound), Westmorland Place, Orton, CA10 3SB

The helpline for farmers is 0345 072 6071 and all customers can see the latest information about water supplies on United Utilities website.