A burst pipe in Fiveways has left more than 1,300 homes without running water or working toilets this morning (July 27) on one of the hottest days of the year.
Streets affected included Preston Drove, where the pipe burst at around 6.30am, as well as Edburton Avenue.
Water has started to return to homes this afternoon after the problem with the water main was fixed at around midday.
Penny Barker, 65, at Edburton Avenue, said: “I saw white water running down the street, I thought it was torrential rain, but then there was none hitting my window.
“I thought I bet the water’s going to be off so I quickly had a shower.
“I hope it’s fixed soon, I’ve got guests coming round at the weekend.”
All water connectivity to the buildings stopped at about 9am when Southern Water showed up to begin fixing the leak.
Southern Water spoke with Buster Anderson, manager of Fiveways Flour Pot Bakery, informing him about the leak so they could fill up bus trays with water, allowing them to stay open until the leak is fixed.
“It’s been a pretty terrible day of business, obviously,” said Mr Anderson.
“We will lose a lot of trade this weekend. Before nine there was no one here, normally it would be heaving.”
Joanna Grant, Preston Drove, who runs Streakers Hair Salon and lives above it, said she saw authorities trying to move cars to gain access to the water leak.
Several cars were unable to be removed without the help of the police which Southern Water called.
Chris Thomas, 28, of Preston Drove, said he realised there was a problem when the water pressure of his shower was lowered.
“We have a two litre bottle of water to make tea and that’s all we’ve got,” he said.
Southern Water say it will take some time to refill the network as they balance the pressure to ensure no further problems occur.
Sarah Mayfield, 41, of Preston Drove, said that she had mistook the running water for rain when she woke up.
“There was white chalky water running all the way down the street,” she said.
“It looked like it had rained all night but everywhere else was dry.
“The water was like someone had the tap on downstairs, it ran out this morning.”
“I saw them working down here at eight o’clock, they were on it.
Charley Barley’s Nursery sent home 46 children because of the leak and owner Charlotte Kamtarin was forced to give 30 staff members the day off.
She did not hear anything before driving into work and received an automated message about the leak once ringing Southern Water.
Staff bought bottles of water from Co-op but they are running out quickly.
Ms Kamtarin said: “We’ve got parents that already needed to go to work today and we made the decision at quarter past nine when we realised that the toilets weren’t working, that how can our three and four year olds go to the toilet.”
“It’s not clean, it’s not hygienic.”
Steve Engelhard, who lives at Preston Drove near the leak said he and his wife were surprised they could not find any alerts on the website to find information about the leak.
“They should have shoved something through the door just to say that there was a problem.
“Our neighbours have very kindly invited us round to use their bathroom, and there are the public loos nearby.”
Southern Water employees working to fix the leak said they had been impressed by how the residents had treated them and were thankful for their understanding.
A Southern Water spokesperson said: “We’re pleased to say repairs to the burst 6” main in Preston Drove, Brighton, are now completed and customers should start to see supplies slowly return over the next couple of hours.
“It will take some time to refill the network as we balance the pressure to ensure no further problems occur.
“Customers affected by the burst may see some discolouration when their supply returns but, although this doesn’t look nice, it is not harmful and will usually clear in 24-48 hours.
“We advise customers to call us on 0330 303 0368 if it’s not running clear after this time.
“We’d like to thank all our affected customers for their patience and understanding while we worked on this emergency repair.”
For more information on water discolouration, visit: bit.ly/1F62IMm