About 32,500 properties remain without water three days after main burst

A total of 32,500 properties remain with no water in East Sussex after a main burst three days ago.

Southern Water said in an update on Sunday morning it was “very sorry” that people in St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings and in Westfield were still without water.

Four water bottle stations have been set up and Southern Water is delivering bottled water 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.

The company said on Sunday morning: “Following the repair of the burst main our teams have been working hard to get our treatment works at Beauport up and running, which it is now, but it will take some time for water supply to return.”

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

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, Sea Road in Hastings and Hastings Academy in Hastings.

The company added that the burst main is located 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 have 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 said: “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.”