Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Monday, 23 July 2007 14:14 UK

600,000 houses could lose power

Tewkesbury
Large parts of Tewkesbury are under water

Some 350,000 homes in Gloucestershire will soon be without water because of flooding at a treatment works and 600,000 could lose power supplies.

The county's Chief Constable Tim Brain said the force's main priority was to keep Walham Switching Station dry.

Thousands of homes are already without tap water and supplies in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury are due to run dry in hours.

In addition 15,000 homes have no power after a sub-station was switched off.

Prognosis not good

"The barriers may hold but they may be over topped because we're expecting another high watermark this evening at about midnight and again tomorrow," said Dr Brain.

"With respect to the Mythe water treatment works that is still out of action and there I am afraid to say the prognosis is not good.

"The best case scenario is seven days and we have been told up to fourteen days before it can become fully operative."

Bottled water and 600 water tanks have been brought in to bolster drinking water supplies.

I must emphasise that the situation we face remains unprecedented
Tim Brain, Chief Constable

Fraser Pithie from Severn Trent Water said: "Most of Gloucester city has no water now; Cheltenham still has got water but obviously its likely to lose its supply later today."

Mr Brain added: "I must emphasise that the situation we face remains unprecedented.

"There are still high levels of water and there is still more water to come down the Severn and other tributary rivers and we have by no means passed the peak of the ongoing emergency. We are not yet in a full recovery stage."

Gordon Brown visited Gloucestershire earlier to tour the areas worst hit by the flooding.

We will provide crisis and care grants for people to make sure those who are displaced are given help
Gordon Brown, Prime Minister

The prime minister said the response of the emergency services had been superb.

"We will provide crisis and care grants for people to make sure those who are displaced are given help and we will make funds available to local authorities in this area to make sure they can do what's necessary," he said.

An overnight operation was carried out at the Walham Switching Station, which supplies half a million homes in Gloucestershire and south Wales.

In a statement the Environment Agency said staff worked with the military, fire and rescue services and the police to put up flood barriers around the site.

More flooding expected

But with another high tide expected on Tuesday night the flooding is far from over.

The chairman of the Environment Agency, Sir John Harman, said the huge amounts of rainwater that had entered the river system were now heading downstream towards major centres.

He said the Severn would continue rising in Gloucester until Tuesday afternoon.

A number of public health issues have been identified as a result of the flooding.

The Director of Public Health for Gloucestershire Dr Shona Arora advised:

  • Wear wellingtons to wade through the flood water and keep children from playing in it to minimise any risk of infection
  • Boil all bowser water as a precaution and use it to make up infant formula
  • Flush the toilet less often and try to use grey water including flood water for this
  • Both main hospitals are functioning
  • Most GP surgeries are functioning

BBC Radio Gloucestershire is running special programming with regular updates on the flooding.

It can be heard on 1413 MW, 104.7, 95.0, 95.8 FM, and online bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire

video and audio news
Aerial footage of the damaged water works



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