A utility company has vowed to address a long-running problem that has left dozens of homes without water every month for a year.
Fed-up Malpas residents and schools in the area have had to put up with a regular lack of water for the past 12 months due to an old water main in need of replacement.
The pipe, located near to the junction between High Street and Chester Road, is more than 80 years old and in a poor condition after bursting in several different places over the years.
It means that despite United Utilities paying frequent visits to the village to patch up the main, the problem keeps occurring – leaving homes without water for hours on end.
A resident told The Chronicle: “We live in the centre of Malpas and every few months we have either no water, or very low water pressure for a day or so.
“I got home from work last week and was unable to give either my children or my dog a drink – let alone make myself a cup of tea.”
He added: “Last week United Utilities attached a tanker to replace the mains water, so we had a trickle of water for an hour or so but that stopped again after a while although it usually goes back on within 24 hours.
“They are always very helpful when you ring, but the call centre people can only respond to the immediate problem and not the historic problems – like the fact the pipe needs replacing.”
Ruth Jacks, Malpas Parish Council clerk, said: “In the past two weeks United Utilities have been called out to attend a number of major leakages and although the parish council have been very impressed by how quickly they have responded to our queries, it has caused a lot of disruption for our village as it’s happened on and off for a while.
“This time last year both schools had to be closed because of it.
“It is a worry to think how the village is going to cope when all the extra houses are built and concerning when you think how it affects elderly people like at Prospect House and Craddock Court.
“This has quite possibly affected the whole village at some point.”
However, when The Chronicle contacted United Utilities, a spokesperson said they were making Malpas a top priority and planned to replace the old pipe as soon as possible.
Helen Apps said: “The water main on High Street is more than 80 years old and it is in a poor condition.
“There have been a number of bursts at different points on the pipe and we need to replace the whole length.
“This is being treated as a priority and the project is in the design stages already.
“We will then need to liaise with the highways department to agree a suitable time when the work can start.
“We appreciate how frustrating this issue has been for local residents, and the good news is that we are already working on a long term solution.
“We attended a parish council meeting last week to give councillors and residents an update and we’ll keep people informed.
“We thank everyone for their patience in the meantime,” she added.