Water firm says supplies being restored amid outage

A queue of residents and a pallet of bottled water
Bottled water is being handed out at water stations [BBC]

Water supplies are "gradually being restored" to 32,500 properties after an outage entered its fourth day.

Thousands of people in East Sussex were left without water after a pipe burst on Thursday.

On Sunday, Southern Water said supplies were being restored in St Leonards-on-Sea and Hastings, but 3,500 homes in east Hastings would lose supply temporarily as the network is recharged.

The firm said it expected supplies in these areas to return on Monday, along with the rest of the network.

East Sussex county councillor Godfrey Daniel said the impact on businesses over the bank holiday weekend would be "huge", when they were already struggling with the cost of living.

Schools, Summerfields Leisure Centre and the White Rock Theatre had to close.

And this weekend was the annual Jack in the Green Festival in Hastings and the May Day Bike Run, both of which see thousands of visitors.

Organisers of an annual procession, due to go through Hastings on Monday, said it may not be able to go ahead if supplies were not restored.

Keith Leech, chair of trustees for the Traditional Jack in the Green event, said: "Trying to get any information out of Southern Water is like trying to get blood out of a stone."

Southern Water said on Sunday: “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.”

'Beyond regulatory obligations'

Four water stations were set up at Tesco, Asda, Sea Road and Hastings Academy, but hour-long queues were reported.

The damaged pipe, in remote woodland, had been replaced and was feeding water back to the treatment works, Southern Water said on Saturday.

But pressure on reservoirs as a result of the outage added to supply issues, pushing the number of households without water on Sunday to 32,500.

Southern Water said bottled water deliveries would continue throughout Sunday to customers on its priority services register.

The firm said compensation for affected businesses would go "beyond regulatory and statutory obligations".

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