Burst Water Main Leaves Over 30,000 Without Water in East Sussex

A burst water main in East Sussex left over 30,000 homes and businesses without water, affecting St Leonards and parts of Hastings. Southern Water is working to repair the pipe, but the complex fix may take until Tuesday morning, causing widespread disruption.

Israel Ojoko
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Burst Water Main Leaves Over 30,000 Without Water in East Sussex

Burst Water Main Leaves Over 30,000 Without Water in East Sussex

A major water main burst in East Sussex has left over 30,000 homes and businesses in St Leonards and parts of Hastings without water, just at the start of the busy Bank Holiday weekend.

The incident occurred on Thursday in a densely wooded area between Beauport Golf and Country Club and Kent Street, near the A21.

Why this matters: The repeated water issues in East Sussex raise concerns about the reliability and maintenance of the area's water infrastructure, which can have significant impacts on public health and the local economy. This incident highlights the need for utility companies to invest in upgrading their infrastructure to prevent such disruptions and ensure a stable supply of essential services.

Southern Water, the utility company responsible for the area's water supply, has been working around the clock to repair the burst pipe. However, the complex nature of the fix means water is expected to be out for at least 36 hours, possibly until Tuesday morning. "We have located the burst impacting customers, which is in an area of dense woodland," a Southern Water spokesperson said in a statement at 7:30 am on Friday. "Machinery is now on site and we've started work to repair the issue. However, as a result of the nature of the repair, we expect this incident to last well into the weekend.

The water outage caused widespread disruption across the affected areas. Six schools were forced to supply on Friday, including West St Leonards Primary Academy, Churchwood Primary, and St Paul's C of E Academy, while four others remained open. Many businesses have also had to shut their doors at the start of what would normally be a thriving period because of the Bank Holiday.

Residents have expressed frustration and concern over the situation and Southern Water's communication. David Flynn of Hastings said, "We can't flush the toilet. We've got nothing to drink. We don't have a water tank in our house so as soon as it ran out we had nothing. "Karen Arthur woke up to no water on Friday morning, saying, "I've got a friend visiting today, I'm going out tonight. It's going to be a very funky evening."

In an effort to provide some relief, Southern Water has set up bottled water stations at three locations: Sea Road in Hastings, Tesco, and Asda in St Leonards. However, reports indicate long queues and traffic congestion at these sites. The company is prioritizing delivery of water to vulnerable customers on its Priority Services Register.

This is not the first time the area has experienced water people supply issues. Last year, hundreds of East Sussex homes dealt with 10 days of problems. Earlier in 2024, major works were carried out on a key sewage pipe in St Leonards after several significant bursts since 2016. The repeated incidents raise questions about the state of the area's water infrastructure and Southern Water's ability to maintain reliable service.

The Bank Holiday weekend begins, and residents and businesses in St Leonards and Hastings are bracing for a challenging period without a reliable water supply. Southern Water has pledged to provide regular updates as repair work continues over the coming days. The company faces mounting pressure to resolve the disruption quickly and restore water service to the affected communities.

Key Takeaways

  • 30,000+ homes and businesses in St Leonards and Hastings lost water supply due to a burst main.
  • Repair expected to take at least 36 hours, possibly until Tuesday morning.
  • Six schools and many businesses forced to close due to the outage.
  • Southern Water sets up bottled water stations, prioritizing vulnerable customers.
  • Repeated incidents raise concerns about the area's water infrastructure and maintenance.