Where will the next water leak happen? Mid Sussex residents could win £100
Mid Sussex residents could win big in a ‘water leak sweepstake’ if a burst water pipe closes Keysford Lane in Horsted Keynes once again.
Helena Griffiths, 50, of Sugar Lane, Horsted Keynes, said she came up with the idea after recent leaks shut the road in November, April and May.
Participants can purchase a random 20m stretch of Keysford Lane for £5 and if a leak occurs in their section they win £100.
“So far I’ve got about 45 people who have entered it,” said Helena, adding that she only started the contest on Monday (May 24) and that it has received plenty of positive feedback.
“We’ve had so many water leaks in the past three or four years, all along that section of road,” she said.
And each one seems to happen in a slightly different place, Helena added.
“It’s like they (South East Water) fix one bit and then it puts pressure on the next weak link and then that bursts.”
The result is that water ‘gushes down the road’, which then has to be closed to traffic, Helena said.
“It’s quite frustrating for us as villagers because that’s our main route in and out of the village.”
“I would say 95 per cent of people usually use Keysford Lane,” she said, adding that the smaller roads leaving Horsted Keynes send drivers out of their way.
But the residents are not just having a laugh at an inconvenient situation, said Helena, they are raising funds for their Village Verges group as well.
Helena set up this group about four years ago with the goal of planting more wild flowers so that there would be fewer mown verges in Horsted Keynes.
She said members wanted to ‘get a variety of ecology back’ in the village and have improved several verges already with the permission of West Sussex Highways.
The sweepstake will allow them to buy more seed for next year when they hope to get another couple of areas seeded.
Helena is confident that another leak will happen and she said she will use her skills as a former geologist and land surveyor to detect exactly where it occurs.
“I’ll use both Google Maps and I have access to a measuring wheel,” she said.
“I know the road is about 2.1km long, so that’s why it was nice and easy to split it into 20 metre sections.”
Helena said the contest will keep rolling until there is a leak, even if it takes a year for a winner to be announced.
At the very least, she said, the contest will make villagers laugh.
“You certainly need to have a bit of a giggle when your main road in and out of the village seems to get closed every three or four months.”
Matthew Dean, head of operations Sussex for South East Water, said: “We hope in a way no one wins this sweepstake as we’ve been working hard to resolve the issues with this unreliable section of pipe and to understand the cause of the bursts, most recently in May 2021.”
Matthew said there are plans in place to install a new pumping system to reduce the amount of pressure within the pipe itself.
“In the meantime, we’ll get involved in this community initiative and encourage anyone to report any leaks they spot via our interactive map – inyourarea.digdat.co.uk/SouthEastWater,” he added.
“As a thank you, we’ll donate £100 to add to the pot towards buying the wildflowers to enhance the local area.”
Participants must be from Mid Sussex.
To get involved with Village Verges visit the group’s Facebook page.