'Giant' burst pipe floods busy London high street amid heatwave

18 July 2022, 10:51 | Updated: 18 July 2022, 14:19

By Asher McShane

A 'giant' burst pipe flooded a busy high street in south west London as the rest of the capital sweltered in record-breaking heat.

Britons are being urged to stay inside during the hottest points of the day, between 11am and 4pm, and wear sun cream, a hat, stay in the shade and keep hydrated with water.

Temperatures could reach 43C under some Met office estimates, and there was significant transport disruption.

Thames Water has urged people to use water “very very carefully”, saying a lack of winter rainfall meant we are in a “tough place to start”.

Flooding closed the busy high street in London this morning
Flooding closed the busy high street in London this morning. Picture: Cllr Kate Chinn/Twitter

Thames Water said the broken 30-inch pipe does not supply homes so water should not be affected, adding that the conduit is a trunk main and not a sewage pipe as some witnesses claimed.

Water demand reduction manager Andrew Tucker told the BBC this morning: "We didn't have the winter rain we wanted, so nine of the past 11 months have been significantly below average rainfall, so it's a tough place to start. But with everyone playing their bit, we'll get through this."

Mr Tucker added: "It becomes more difficult month on month, that I guess the peak demand at the moment is extraordinary, there's no doubt about that.

"Once we fall back into a normal routine and we understand what customers are doing in homes and businesses just as a normal weather situation, we'll be in a better position to say how we're going to stand for the rest of the rest of the year.

"But we would certainly like rainfall but it's those little things that people do in the backyards at the moment, those back gardens that really make a difference.

"So our call is basically 'stay hydrated, look after your health, but please use water very very carefully and don't waste it'.

Not long after his comments the flood erupted on Kingston Hill.

Police were called shortly before 9am today to reports of the burst pipe. Road closures are in place and people are being advised to avoid the area.

One resident said: “Kingston Hill is not supposed to be a river! Think the Thames Water contractors just up the road got something a bit wrong. Hope they get it sorted quickly as it will not be a good day to be without water!”

Another concerned Londoner posted: "Hopefully this will be dealt with by Thames Water with an appropriate amount of urgency.

"So frustrating for those of us conserving water use to see stuff like this."

Another said: “Standard school run this morning. Stranded at the pub due to a burst water main.”

A third posted: “Giant mains leak on Kingston Hill. Road will need to be rebuilt.”

Pictures and video shared on social media show a torrent of water running down the road.