Water ‘gradually being restored’ to thousands in East Sussex after main burst

Water is “gradually being restored” to 32,500 properties in East Sussex after a main burst three days ago.

Southern Water said in an update on Sunday afternoon that customers’ supplies were “gradually being restored” in St Leonards-on-Sea and Hastings.

But 3,500 homes in the east of Hastings will lose supply temporarily from Sunday afternoon to preserve water for the part of the town including the hospital as the network is “recharged”, the company said.

It added it expects supplies in these areas to return on Monday, along with the rest of the network.

Southern Water said on Sunday afternoon: “This phased return of supplies to homes and businesses will see lower-lying areas and those nearest to Beauport coming back into supply first, with the remainder following as pressure increases in the pipes between now and tomorrow morning.

“Specifically, west and central areas of St Leonards-on-Sea, west Hastings and rural areas around Westfield should see supplies return gradually during the rest of Sunday.

“However it will take longer for areas north of Hollington and east Hastings and rural areas east of Hastings to return to supply; we expect these to have supply from Monday morning.”

Four water bottle stations have been set up and Southern Water is delivering bottled supplies to more than 6,000 customers on its priority services register.

The burst was repaired on Saturday, but the service has to be “restarted”, Southern Water said.

Schools, a leisure centre and a theatre in the area have been forced to close.

And this weekend is the annual four-day Jack In The Green Festival in Hastings and the May Day Bike Run, both of which usually see thousands of visitors flock to the area.

East Sussex county councillor Godfrey Daniel said the impact on businesses in Hastings will be “drastic”.

He added that one hotel in Hastings has resorted to flushing toilets with sea water.

Southern Water has opened water bottle stations at Asda and Tesco in St Leonards-on-Sea, and Sea Road and Hastings Academy in Hastings.

The company added that the burst main is in Keeper’s Wood, near the A21, “deep in woodland”, which is making it difficult for crews and machinery to reach it.

Summerfields Leisure Centre posted on Facebook saying it was still closed on Sunday morning, “until the situation changes”.

The White Rock Theatre was closed on Friday due to the water supply issue.

Churchwood Primary Academy and St Paul’s Church of England Academy in St Leonards were also closed on Friday.

A spokesperson for Southern Water said on Saturday they were “deeply sorry” for the loss of supply and they had been “working around the clock to not only fix the issue, but also do all we can to help our customers, especially those who are vulnerable”.

They added: “If you are a vulnerable customer, or need access to water for medical reasons, and have not received a water delivery or had yours stolen, please call 0330 303 0368 to let us know we need to help.

“We use bottled water stations to help us get water to as many of our customers as quickly as we can.

“In response to feedback, we opened a fourth station today and are grateful to our own people and others for their hard work volunteering and the various businesses letting us use their car parks.

“We do appreciate not everyone can get to them and we’re working with local communities to find additional ways to ensure access to water. It’s worth noting we also have 21 tankers in the area supplying health care venues, care homes and other sites of importance.

“Our engineering teams worked through the night to remove the broken pipe and replace it. Now the repair is completed we are recharging our network.

“It’s a complicated process getting everything going again, so this will take time and we expect disruption to continue over the weekend. We will keep on doing all we can to support customers in the meantime.”

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