Bottled Water Sales Skyrocket Following Tap Water Parasites Scare

Bottled water sales have skyrocketed in northwest England as residents wipe store shelves clean of them, following recommendations that tap water be boiled. The recommendations themselves came as a result of the discovery of a potentially deadly parasite in the area’s water supply.

As the Mirror reports, panicked residents are rushing to supermarkets and stores and clearing shelves of bottled water, hoping to avoid severe and possibly fatal illness caused by the parasite known as cryptosporidium.

Lynda Garburr, who runs a holiday club at Harris Primary School in Fulwood, had to load a shopping cart with stacks of bottled water for the children at the school.

“The children have to be safe, that is why we are buying all this water,” she said.

Other shoppers posted tweets about the emptied shelves they faced as they continued to search for this increasingly rare product.

Preston native Ben Stanford called the panic buying of bottled water in his hometown “typical English overreaction.”


Warren Middleton found nothing but empty shelves when looking for bottled water at Lancashire and has asked the government – probably satirically – to call in the army to support the area.


Tweeting from Bradford, Tony Rothwell comically commented on the situation in Lancashire.


Brax Jaxon also commented on Lancashire now seeming to be a totally different country altogether.


Caroline Wareing from North West expressed her relief after she managed to find 20 liters of bottled water amid the panic buying in the area.


Gillian Seville, a self-proclaimed “wine lover” and “real ale fan,” decided to use a different alternative to the tap water problem in Preston.

Carl Barron reminded his fellow Englishmen that the original recommendation was to boil the tap water and not necessarily give it up for bottled water.


The Lancashire Evening Post mentioned that the water warning is to remain in effect until next week, according to United Utilities.

The parasite that is causing all the panic buying of bottled water in North West, England – the cryptosporidium – causes stomach cramps and diarrhea. The Franklaw Water treatment plant near Garstang found the parasite while conducting tests on the water supply.

The Telegraph says residents of the affected areas can use tap water directly for “domestic purposes such as bathing, flushing toilets or washing clothes.” The only purposes in which boiling water – and not necessarily purchasing bottled water – is required include “drinking, food preparation and food preparation.”

Do you live in any of the affected areas? And have you found it hard to find bottled water in your area?

[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]