Monday, 15 March 2010

Gibson meets with Scottish Water

News release
Immediate release

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has labeled as timely, instructive and positive a meeting with Scottish Water representatives regarding the water problems in Golspie last week.

Mr Gibson called for the meeting after he was contacted by angry constituents from Golspie following problems with information and supplies from Scottish Water, due to a thirty-six hour water stoppage from 7th to 9th March.

On Monday 15th he met with engineer Simon Harrison and customer care manager Joanna Peebles in Inverness.

At the meeting Scottish Water apologised that their handling of the incident went wrong.

Due to a series of problems which occurred one after the other over the three day period the full contingency plan was not implemented. The reason why Scottish Water did not contact people individually is because as the water bills are paid along with council tax so they do not have a list of contacts of customers.

Also Scottish Water's articulated lorry used to transport bottled water supplies to incidents actually broke down on the Sunday 7th, therefore reducing and delaying the amount of bottles available in Golspie.

However Scottish Water managed to deliver 23,000 two litre bottles of water, but it seems some people were reported to be taking far more than they needed. Some people were seen loading up pick up trucks with far too many bottles.

Scottish Water's upgrades in the area of around 7.5 km of pipe work laid in the area over 2002-3 with further pipework done in 2007.

Following the incident Scottish Water promised to liaise with the ward manager, Golspie Community Council and local councillors .

They also suggested that they might be able to make a donation to a local event as a gesture of goodwill.

Following the meeting Mr Gibson said…

"I think Scottish Water has learnt from this incident. It did sound like a complex situation. However after meeting with their Highland representatives they held their hands up and admitted that it could have been handled better. I am sure that they will take stock of what happened and be better prepared in the future."

"There seemed to be a series of problems with the pipes in the area which meant that just when Scottish Water thought they had fixed the problem another sprung up probably increased by the effects of frost damage. That made it difficult to implement the full contingency plan and deploy the incident teams as they thought that the incident was resolved."

"I am sure that people in Golspie will want to make their feelings known to representatives of Scottish Water in the forthcoming public meetings. It would be a good way to further inform Scottish Water of the problems encountered so that they can further learn from this incident."

"I was quite angry to hear of people stock piling bottled water in the back of pick ups. Those that did so should consider that they were taking water from old, young and vulnerable folk. "

"I congratulate the Scottish Water team on the ground for their hard work and to local plumbers who dealt with problems arising from high pressure bursts when water was switched back on. It sounded like a tough task so great credit has to go to them."


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