Councillor goes for a dip in flood waters from leak in hosepipe ban protest

Mike Rowley is not impressed at the leak still not being fixed (Picture: Anna Railton/SWNS)

A councillor has stripped off to his swimmers in an unusual protest about water wastage amid a hosepipe ban.

Mike Rowley, from Oxford, waded into the waist-deep water which had flooded a footpath due to a burst pipe.

He urged Thames Water, which covers the area, to ‘get it fixed!’

Mr Rowley, who represents Barton & Sandhills and is also Sheriff of the city council, dubbed the area ‘Littlemore Lake, formerly known as the foot and cycle path’.

He tweeted: ‘I normally enjoy outdoor swimming but a drought’s been declared and this water should be in the pipe. Come on @thameswater get the leak fixed!’

The underpass at the corner of Littlemore Roundabout is ‘full to the brim with water’, say residents, as ongoing work to fix a burst water main is carried out.

Thames Water said the problem was reported to them on the August 10, so it has now been spilling out water for over a fortnight.

It comes as the GMB union have slammed Thames Water for wasting water through ‘leaky infrastructure’ after it announced a hosepipe ban this week to try and conserve supply.

It claimed that Thames Water wastes the same amount of water as having a hosepipe on for more than 73 years – every single day.

Geoff Leitch, who took photos of Mr Rowley, said: ‘I’m 5’9, and I don’t think I could stand up in this water.

‘It’s the main route to get into the city for people living in Littlemore, and it’s a frequently used route to get to the closest bus stop too.’

A Thames Water spokesman said: ‘Our engineers arrived on site within hours and have been working hard to fix the pipe.

‘This is a complex repair and we’ve got temporary traffic lights in place so they can safely finish the job.

‘In the meantime we’re using pumps to take away the excess water so the road does not flood and we’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes people living and travelling in and around the area.’

Mr Leitch said a tanker driver present at the underpass told him the water was not being put back into the system, but simply dumped.

However, the Thames Water spokesperson said water released during a burst has to be put into the wastewater system because it’s no longer drinkable.

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