THOUSANDS of Merseyside families are buying bottled water after their tap water turned brown.
United Utilities maintain it is "harmless" but their advisers are being inundated with calls from customers who cannot face drinking the discoloured, rusty-looking water.
Most of Merseyside and parts of Widnes and Warrington have had the problem, caused by work on a Chester viaduct.
Julie Penny, who has a seven-month-old daughter Sophie said: "I am really frightened of using this water to make Sophie's juice.
"Two advisers have told us different things. One said to be safe it was best to buy bottled water and we would be reimbursed.
"But another said it was harmless."
Julie, 23, from Fazakerley, "This is really inconvenient and none of us have been able to bathe, but I don't see our water bills being reduced."
A company spokesman said today: "People have been reporting a brown tinge in their drinking and bath water.
"It is not harmful. "It has been caused by naturally occuring sediment being unsettled during work to re-route the supply as it crosses a viaduct.
"The peak use this morning will have helped pass this water through the system.
"Water should be back to normal by tonight."