The cryptosporidium water crisis is in its third week. Chief Reporter BRIAN ELLIS talks to an affected Lancashire family to find out how they’re coping ...
Claire Bowdidge admits to being a careful mum during the cryptosporidium crisis . . . so the family’s pet spider is on bottled water too.
Flotsam the Chilean rose tarantula gets the same health care measures as Sally the guinea pig, Geri the dog and the rest of the Bowdidge household in Fulwood, Preston.
“I suppose people will think I’m being over-cautious,” said Claire. “But I don’t know what effect, if any, it has on pets. So you can’t be too careful.”
Like most families in the affected areas of Lancashire, the Bowdidges have been taking extra precautions to avoid infection during the crypto alert which is now heading towards its fourth week.
Claire and her husband James have a five-year-old daughter Charlie and her welfare is paramount during the school holidays.
Cooking has been quite a challenge, remembering to wash everything in bottled or boiled water.Claire Bowdidge
“Charlie is under strict instructions not to have water out of the tap,” said mum. “She has forgotten a couple of times, but I’ve managed to stop her drinking it.
“Normally she has a cup upstairs and fills that from the tap.
“But while this alert is on she’s taking a bottle of water up to bed and using that to drink and clean her teeth.
“We’re quite lucky that she is quite a sensible five-year-old and what we tell her sticks - well, most of the time.
“Cooking has been quite a challenge, remembering to wash everything in bottled or boiled water.
“At first it was a problem, but now it’s been going on for a while it is getting easier to remember. Anything I’ve inadvertently washed under the tap I’ve just thrown in the bin.
“I suppose we’re spoilt with being able to just turn on the tap whenever we need water.”
Claire keeps a jug in the kitchen which she fills with boiled water. United Utilities is promising to reimburse households for the inconvenience - and the cost - of the continuing alert.
“It is supposed to be one of the most expensive things in the house, boiling the kettle,” she said.
“The electricity company told me that once.
“I know it is a massive problem for United Utilities. But sometimes the lack of information out there is frustrating for families like us.
“I’m pleased they found it so quickly and acted upon it. It shows they are doing what they should be doing in testing the water.
“But if they had explained things a bit more, especially about why it is taking so long, we might be more understanding.”