WHEN foul-tasting and discoloured water poured from taps in the Ulverston area there was an unprecedented rush to the shops to buy bottled supplies.

One of the stores dealing with the buying panic was the Walter Wilson supermarket in The Gill at Ulverston — part of a regional change of shops.

The Mail of Thursday, October 5, in 1989, noted: "Sales of bottled water have sprung up by 900 per cent in Ulverston since discoloured water appeared from taps.

"Suppliers to the town's biggest supermarket used to deliver a mere five cases a week before the scare.

"Now they stagger into Walter Wilson's with 90 per week."

The article noted: "Thousands of homes in the Ulverston area were without water when a valve failed a month ago.

"But even after the supply was restored, complaints flooded in from householders objecting to the discoloured, foul-tasting water.

"North West Water has blamed the discolouration on the low reservoir levels following the dry summer which has caused extra chlorination of supplies.

"Today water officials were hoping the rain would continue to bring up levels.

"Walter Wilson's branch manager, Luke Rutherford, told The Mail that his shop had used up all the company's supply of bottled water for the North West and North East."

He said: "We just couldn't keep enough of the little bottles, so we went on to bigger bottles."

A spokesman for North West Water said: "The water is safe to drink. Our job is to supply good wholesome water and it is always carefully monitored."

Stephanie Thompson, proprietor of Ulverston's Trinity House hotel and restaurant, said: "We have always stocked Northumbrian Spring Water in the restaurant.

"There is no way you can offer people tap water in its current state."

A Bardsea resident said: "I poured out a glass of bottled water and compared it with a glass of tap water. The difference is striking."