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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 July 2007, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Relief as new flooding fears fade
Flooding in Tewkesbury
The region is heading for a drier spell, say forecasters

Fears of fresh flooding in areas already hit by weeks of rain have faded after predicted overnight rain storms failed to materialise.

The flooded Mythe water treatment works in Tewkesbury has been repaired and water supplies are due to be restored in Gloucestershire in the coming week.

But Severn Trent Water warned that the water would not initially be fit for drinking, even if boiled.

Forecasters say England and Wales can expect mainly dry weather this week.

Tens of thousands of people lost running water supplies after the floods hit more than a week ago.

Severn Trent said the newly restored water also must not be used for preparing food, making ice or brushing teeth.

Until further notice the tap water can only be used for purposes such as bathing, showering and flushing toilets, the firm added.

Now engineers have restarted the works - which serve about 130,000 homes - the company plans to restore supplies, area by area, over the next week.

For the majority of homes in Gloucester and Cheltenham, reconnection is still several days away
Andy Smith, Severn Trent Water

They will release details of areas that are due to be reconnected each day, said a statement.

Director of water services Andy Smith described the weekend's progress as "significant".

But he added: "This does not mean that customers will have water at their taps immediately. Wider areas of Tewkesbury will begin to get water over the next 24 hours, but for the majority of homes in Gloucester and Cheltenham, reconnection is still several days away."

He said 1,200 miles of water pipes still needed to be re-filled.

'Thank goodness'

Extra inspectors were out checking supplies and pipes, but he urged people to watch out for bogus callers posing as water officials.

"All genuine Severn Trent workers carry ID and will be happy to wait outside while you confirm their identity. If there is any doubt who the caller is keep them out," he said.

Customers could ring 0800 783 4444 to check or even ring the police, he added.

Although flood-hit areas in western England saw more rain overnight it was not as bad as feared.

Daniel Corns who lives in Kempsey in Worcestershire told BBC Radio Five Live he had been worried the water would come in again.

"Last night it was constantly on my mind and [I was] looking out every five minutes to see whether the rain was still pouring down - but it didn't, thank goodness".

VAT 'profits'

Nigel Bolton, from the Met Office, told BBC Radio Five Live there was a "glimmer of hope on the horizon".

He said: "We will have mainly dry days, for two or three days at least anyway, with some sunshine.

"And some fairly brisk north westerly winds for Sunday and into Monday, and this should actually help the drying process up."

Hovercraft
A specialist hovercraft was used to find a body in Tewkesbury

The Environment Agency has no severe flood warnings in place but there are still three standard flood warnings.

These are all for the River Severn - at Gloucester, between Worcester and Tewkesbury, and from Tewkesbury to upstream of Gloucester.

But emergency planner for Worcestershire County Council, Simon Geraghty, said the worst was over for his county, which was now in "recovery mode".

As the floods receded Communities Secretary Hazel Blears told News 24 it was important local and national authorities kept those affected "in our minds" in the months ahead.

"What's really important for government now is that we do the clean-up but that we also stay in touch with these people. People were saying to me 'we can just about cope', but they are worried about it happening again in future."

Meanwhile opposition politicians have said the government should not "profit" from the floods by collecting VAT on the resulting building repair work.

Shadow environment minister Bill Wiggins told the Sunday Express more money should be released for those in need.

The increased revenue from repairs should allow the government to be more generous, added the Lib Dem's environment spokesman Chris Huhne.

See where the heaviest rain fell

Police in Tewkesbury searching for Mitchell Taylor, 19, who went missing after leaving a bar on 21 July, found a body on Saturday.

Gloucestershire Police said the man's body, which has not yet been formally identified, was discovered by an Italian hovercraft crew in flooded parkland.

On Thursday, Bram Lane, 64, and his son Chris, 27, were found dead at Tewkesbury Rugby Club.

They are thought to have been overcome by fumes as they used a petrol-powered pump to clear floodwater.

Environment Agency floodline: 0845 988 1188


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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scenes of floods receding in Tewkesbury



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