Hotter than Cairo – but 100 Croydon residents left without water

Dry as the desert: Verde House has been without water since 8pm last night

Around 100 residents, including families with young children, living in a new tower block in Croydon Old Town have been left without any water supply since just after 8pm last night – on one of the hottest days, and night, in history.

Verde House, on Cairo New Road, close to Reeves Corner, is a new-build of part share-ownership flats and part social housing, managed by housing association Optivo.

Yesterday, with a Red warning national emergency in place across much of England, the top temperature recorded was 38.1C – hotter even than Cairo in Egypt. By lunchtime today, the Met Office was confirming that today’s temperatures had broken all historic records, with 39C being registered at Charlwood in Surrey.

Fearing for their families’, and neighbours’, health and well-being, some residents have appealed to Optivo for urgent action to get their water supply reconnected. But by noon today, with temperatures in Croydon soaring above 35C, Optivo had not yet got an emergency plumber on site.

Nor had the housing association arranged for any bottled or temporary water supplies for their residents.

“Optivo failed us once again,” tweeted one frustrated, and thirsty, Cairo New Road resident this morning.

“A whole building block with no water for nearly 10 hours, vulnerable people and children will suffer the consequences of this incompetence.

Water crisis: how one angry resident stated her case this morning

“No portable water offered, no help whatsoever offered.”

Rents in Verde House start from around £771 per month, with one- and two-bed flats in the block sold under shared ownership schemes at £302,500, with service charges of £158 per month, according to Optivo’s own figures.

According to the Met Office, the high temperatures of yesterday and today create a real risk to life, with all medical advice recommending that keeping well hydrated is a key element of avoiding illness in the extreme heat. The maximum temperature recorded in England yesterday was 38.1C, while the night-time temperature never dropped below 25C – a record high.

Residents of Verde House have told Inside Croydon that Optivo say that a plumber has been booked to visit the block, but that they will not be attending until later this afternoon.

Inside Croydon contacted Croydon-based Optivo this morning for a comment.

They said that they would get something to us by the end of the day. Optivo claims that the water supply in Verde House was reconnected before noon today – close to 16 hours after the first report of the disconnect.

In common with water outages experienced in other residential tower blocks, Optivo said that there was a fault discovered in the pump room.

“Our contractors were quickly able to restore the cold-water supply to all residents in the building.” After the residents went 16 hours without water, this possibly redefines the use of the word “quickly”.

In a statement provided by Optivo, they said, “Further investigation revealed a fault with the hot-water supply. Repair work is ongoing, and we hope to have it resolved by the end of today.

“We are extremely sorry to the residents affected. We’ll continue to monitor the cold-water supply to ensure it is not disrupted while we fix the hot-water issue.”

*Updated 2pm to add the Optivo apology

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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1 Response to Hotter than Cairo – but 100 Croydon residents left without water

  1. Lewis White says:

    16 hours without water is grim. Ironic that this block is located a hose-splash away from the old Water Works Pumping station (the Moorish style building at Matthews Yard) off Surrey Street.

    I was just thinking about cooling the urban heating, and direct cooling of overheated people.

    In the 1950’s locally we had the open air Purley Way Pool. …………………………Hugely popular.
    I recall the open air Pool at Banstead / Burgh Heath, called the Sugar Bowl…. ditto.

    Both long gone, except the diving board at Purley Way.

    Brixton has a great Lido at Brickwell Park. Tooting the Lido on the Common. Oases in today’s overheating world.

    I keep hoping that some bright spark will take a creative look at the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace, and build an outdoor lido there, with sunbathing lawns and trees for shade. Families could come there for the day.

    I am not sure if it would be feasible to have an outdoor informal pool, and a water gate allowing swimmers to swim out into the open air from the Olympic Pool. But it is a nice idea.

    Years ago, when the old Scarbrook Hill baths were demolished, for a decade or more there was a deabte about the need for “a central Croydon pool”.

    Welll, maybe now, with what must be over ten thousand new residents living in the many new or converted towers , that idea might be worth re-visiting ? Could be like the Eden Project with swimming.

    It begs the question of the scope for an indoor/ outdoor pool, and town centre lido as part of the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre. Or at Duppas Hill ?

    Would that help make central Croydon truly liveable ? Why not ask the people ?

    Or a new Purley pool, both indoor and out. On the site of Tescos?

    In the meantime, I do hope (what ever else goes into the revamped College Green / “Fair Field” next to the Fairfield Hall park) that a really good splash zone is designed, primarily for the children and their families to use as a Croydon seaside. By all means, allow for exciting lighting, and other sub-uses for the Winter, but above all, please can the designers concentrate on making the design a massive success for children to use in Spring, Summer and Autumn. .

    All that thinking has overheated my brain. Time for a glass of chilled H2 O, I think.

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