Households across the United Kingdom were further inconvenienced as thawing snow burst multiple pipes, leaving tens of thousands of homes without running water.
London and the south-east of England have been the hardest hit, with about 13,000 homes in Kent and Sussex and 5,000 homes in London still without water.
One Twitter user, @priscillav1989 said in a post addressed to Thames Water: "I start to think that it is more likely to find water in the desert than in London after nearly four days without water".
South West Water said it was dealing with an unprecedented number of burst water mains and warned some customers that potable water may have a "noticeable taste". "While the snows, the freeze, the thaw has posed huge challenges Ofwat this afternoon has said that these companies have fallen far short in forward planning, giving the right support and communication to people".
Bottled water was brought in for the residents affected by the outage.
In Kent alone, around 1,000 homes have no supplies in the Charing, Challock and Molash areas - and South East Water expects this to rise as engineers work to fix the network.
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Southern Water, which supplies much of Kent, urged customers to "only use the water you absolutely must".
The industry regulator Ofwat accused water firms of falling "well short" and said it would be taking a "long, hard look at what has happened".
Speaking at the Water UK City conference, he said that water companies had not been acting "sufficiently in the public interest" and accused some companies of "playing the system for the benefit of wealthy managers and owners, at the expense of consumers and the environment".
Severn Trent, a supplier of water to 4.3 million homes and businesses in the middle of England, said the number of burst pipes was up 4,000%, while in Wales, Welsh Water said between 3,000 and 6,000 homes were being affected.
"Over the last few years there have been several major water leaks, burst water mains causing severe disruption to my constituents meaning that they can't wash, they can't cook, they can't do the basic things we take for granted", he said in the House of Commons yesterday.
Forecasters at the Met Office said the United Kingdom was likely to be over the worst of the freezing weather which caused the problems.
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