THOUSANDS of properties in the Eden Valley were still without water or experiencing low pressure as the Gazette went to press on Wednesday.

Engineers have been working around the clock in harsh wintry weather since Storm Ciara to repair a damaged water pipe near Shap, said United Utilities.

A massive operation is under way to pump water directly into the network from 46 tankers, and residents in affected towns and villages are collecting bottled water from stations set up by the utility company.

Doorstep deliveries are being made to vulnerable households, and kind-hearted residents in places like Shap and Appleby have also been rallying round to help their neighbours.

Meanwhile, a farmers' helpline has been set up by UU and a dedicated team is helping ensure livestock have access to water supplies. Already special arrangements have been made for 70 farmers, and the company is urging any others who need support to phone the helpline on 0345-0726071.

Around 8,000 properties in Eden were still battling with no water or low pressure yesterday as engineers continued their efforts to repair the storm-hit pipe. They have assembled a new pipe, which expected to be installed by Wednesday night.

UU said any customers who had water could use it as normal. Any discolouration is caused by naturally occurring pipe sediment and will run clear.

Martin Padley, water service director at UU, said: “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 from:

- Appleby's Moot Hall

- Market Square, Kirkby Stephen

- Glenridding Village Hall

- Shap Memorial Hall

- Pooley Bridge Village Hall

- Crown Inn, Ivegill

- Greystoke Village Hall

- and Tebay Services (Northbound).

“Our teams are working around the clock to get this pipe repaired and water supplies back to normal," said Mr Padley.

"I want to thank residents who are showing real community spirit in helping each other with the bottled water supplies.

Shap Parish Council chairman Cllr Jean Jackson told the Gazette: "There are guys standing at the village hall freezing, dishing out water. We've just got to plough on with it and do our best.

"The parish council has really made sure as best it can that water is getting to people who might not have help."

Matt Phillips, of Shap Chippy, also praised the community spirit in Shap and said residents had been helping each other.

Mr Padley, of UU, added: "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."

- Advice on discoloured water can be found at