Thousands of homes and businesses in Cumbria are facing days without water after a mains pipe was damaged during Storm Ciara on Sunday.
A major incident was declared after the damaged pipe near Kendal threatened supplies to about 8,000 properties.
United Utilities said many people would continue to be without water, despite millions of litres being pumped into the damaged system.
The firm said “horrendous” weather conditions were hampering repairs.
A large area of the county, including Appleby, Shap, Orton, Ravenstonedale, Ivegill, Low Braithwaite, Threlkeld and Glenridding is affected.
United Utilities said it could be Thursday or Friday before the main was fixed, but stressed it would depend on weather conditions.
Dr Martin Padley said the company had brought in extra equipment and tankers from the Midlands and Scotland.
“We’re throwing absolutely everything we can at this problem but the weather is so bad that it’s affecting our ability to even weld pipes,” he said.
The area normally uses about 11 million litres of water a day and engineers are pumping in seven million litres a day.
“So we have a shortfall of about four millions litres, so unfortunately people will see low pressure and ultimately no water at all,” Dr Padley said.
“Even after we get the pipe fixed it will take time to refill what is a huge system.”
Two GP practices – Shap Medical Practice and Glenridding Health Centre – cancelled appointments on Wednesday because of problems with their water supply.
United Utilities said it was also in contact with 70 farmers in the affected area about getting supplies to livestock.
Alan Fox, who runs the Troutbeck Inn, near Penrith, said he had been forced to close.
He said: “We’ve already had to turn guests away and we have people staying in our holiday cottages with no water.
“We’re having to close tonight because without water people can’t use toilets and we can’t cook in the restaurant.”
Louise Donnelly, head teacher at Morland Primary School, near Appleby, said: “We won’t be open today and probably not tomorrow either.
“Parents have been very supportive, but I understand this will cause them a headache.”
Free bottled water is available for those affected at:
- Glenridding Village Hall, Penrith
- The Crown Inn, Ivegill
- Shap Memorial Hall, Shap
- Market Square, Kirkby Stephen
- Moot Hall, Boroughgate, Appleby-in-Westmorland
- Pooley Bridge Village Hall, Pooley Bridge
- Greystoke Village Greystoke
- Tebay Services (Northbound)
United Utilities has issued a telephone number for those who are elderly, vulnerable or sick who are unable to get their own bottled water – it is 0345 672 3723.