Concerns over infrastructure and emergency planning after burst main in Hurstpierpoint

Water bottles being handed out at South Downs Nurseries in Hassocks. Photo contributed
Water bottles being handed out at South Downs Nurseries in Hassocks. Photo contributed

Concerns about infrastructure and emergency planning have been raised in the wake of a water main burst which affected thousands of properties at the weekend.

Hurstpierpoint and the surrounding areas were without water until Sunday, as repair crews battled to fix the problem.

The scene of the burst water main in Hurstpierpoint. Photo by Eddie Howland

The scene of the burst water main in Hurstpierpoint. Photo by Eddie Howland

Bottled water was offered with residents asked to collect supplies from South Downs Nursery in Hassocks, and Kings Business Centre in Sayers Common.

Paul Herve, of Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint Liberal Democrats, said problems began on Friday afternoon and water was not restored at his home until Sunday lunchtime.

He said it had been suggested that the water pipes were so old, ‘as fast as South East Water could repair one leak, another leak would open up’.

“When we fail to adequately invest in our infrastructure over the long term, problems with the services that we rely upon become more frequent, and more severe.

“At ground level we can see this in the increasing numbers of potholes in our roads, but below ground, the same is true for our water pipes.”

He also questioned the emergency planning, and the location of the bottled water stations, both outside of Hurstpierpoint.

“You cannot expect vulnerable residents, or those without their own transport to collect bottled water when it is over a mile away.

“It is testament to the community spirit in Hurstpierpoint that people rallied round and got the extra water to those that could not get it for themselves.”

Engineers from South East Water worked through the night to repair damage in Cuckfield Road, between the junctions of Western Road and Willow Way.

Speaking on Sunday, Steve Andrews, incident manager at South East Water, said up to 2,800 properties had no water or low pressure.

Apologising to customers, he said: “We repaired two 10inch diameter burst water mains yesterday (Saturday), however we are still getting calls from customers who are without supplies, so our teams have been working through the night to find the cause of the problem.”

He later said water had been restored to the majority of homes, adding: “We are putting water back into the network carefully to reduce the possibility of further bursts happening so getting back to normal may take some time.”

Water supplies were restored to all areas during the course of Sunday.

READ MORE: Residents still without water in Mid Sussex

Water supplies in Mid Sussex to be restored soon