Keeping the taps running: why having access to water is so important for kidney patients At Thames Water we provide clean water to over 10 million people, which they use every day for drinking, cooking, cleaning and hygiene. My role at the company involves being out in my van, maintaining and fixing our clean water network. Keeping the taps running is part of our essential service and from my own personal experience, I know how important access to clean water is for people living with kidney disease. Five years ago, just before my daughter's first birthday, I was diagnosed with renal failure resulting from hyperparathyroidism. I was treated at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, visiting the renal unit three times a week for dialysis before receiving a new kidney from a living donor in February 2018. Even with my transplant, I'll always be an outpatient and I think it's important that people living with kidney disease and long-term health conditions, know what support is available to them in the unlikely event their water supply was interrupted. Thames Water has a Priority Services Register which is a secure database of customers who would struggle to get by should their home's water supply be disrupted - for example a burst pipe causing low pressure or loss of supply. In such circumstances, priority service customers are contacted by Thames Water's care team for bottled water deliveries directly to their homes if they are unable to get to a collection hub. The system also gives them advanced warning of planned work which may risk an interruption to their water supply and provides tailored communication services. We also have a dedicated phone line for customers on the register. People living with kidney disease are a key priority for Thames Water as many need access to water for home dialysis and to maintain a clinically sterile environment to keep themselves safe and healthy, but the register is also open to a wide range of people including those with mobility problems, chronic illnesses, mental health conditions, parents with young families and pensioners. The other UK water companies have their own versions of this free service and I urge people living with kidney disease to register for extra support with their water company. I should highlight again that supply interruptions are unlikely to happen and my work involves checking pipes are working like they're meant to but when things go wrong, it helps to have these extra support measures in place for our customers who need it most. We can sometimes take access to clean water for granted and I'm proud the company I work for is so passionate about supporting customers living with kidney disease, so please consider signing up to the Priority Services Register if you or someone you know could need this extra helping hand. If you're a Thames Water customer you can find out if you qualify for the Priority Services Register and sign up by visiting www.thameswater.co.uk/priorityservices or calling 0800 009 3652. Find you water and sewerage services supplier here: www.water.org.uk/advice-for-customers/find-your-supplier.