About 2,000 homes in Hastings on fifth day with no water supply

<span>Engineers working to fix the burst pipe on Saturday.</span><span>Photograph: Southern Water</span>
Engineers working to fix the burst pipe on Saturday.Photograph: Southern Water

About 2,000 homes in Hastings are into their fifth day without water and will probably have to wait until at least Tuesday for their taps to be flowing again.

On Thursday, 32,500 properties in Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea were left without water after a mains pipe burst. On Monday Southern Water said about 25,500 of the homes affected had had their water supply restored.

It said a “significant number” of the remaining 7,000 affected properties were expected to be back on supply by the end of the day but about 2,000 of them, in the St Helen’s and St Helen’s Wood areas, were “unlikely to see supply restored until tomorrow morning or lunchtime”. The water supplier said this was because the homes are normally served by the Fairlight reservoir, which was “not yet sufficiently stocked to meet the demand”.

There were fears over the weekend that the Jack in the Green, a festival usually held in Hastings that marks the coming of summer, would be severely affected or cancelled. Despite the rain, the festival went ahead on Monday largely undisrupted.

Keith Leech, the chair of trustees for the event, told the BBC: “On a bank holiday weekend, that’s absolutely not what the town needs. All the pubs, restaurants and hotels were thinking of having to close, but fortunately on this side of town they’ve managed to maintain a supply. Hastings being Hastings, we’re going to do it regardless of what’s going on.”

Some festivalgoers told the BBC they had been filling up buckets with sea water in order to flush their toilets. The May Day Run, when thousands of motorbikes and scooters descend on the seafront, also went ahead.

Sapphyre Callaghan told the BBC she had to close her food shop in Hastings for two days but still had a stall at the Jack in the Green festival. “We were probably out for three full days, so it was very difficult preparing for Jack in the Green,” she said. “Luckily, because we do festivals, we have the facilities to boil water and wash our hands, but by Saturday we decided to close [the shop] because we couldn’t cope with the lack of water.”

Tara Flood, a Hastings local who was still without water on Monday, attended the festival. She told the BBC: “Low pressure last night, but no water this morning. It’s an absolute disgrace. We’ve been up to the water station on Rye Road. The staff working there are just fantastic. We’ve not been able to flush the toilet for 24 hours. This is not how it should be.”

Sally-Ann Hart, the MP for Hastings and Rye, had told SussexWorld on Thursday that she had spoken to Steve Barclay, the environment secretary, to apply “pressure on Southern Water get water supply back as a matter of urgency and priority”.

Southern Water said: “As areas are being brought back on to supply, Southern Water is redeploying its fleet of 24 tankers to support those areas still without supply. Our bottled water stations will remain open from 8am to 9pm and we will continue to deliver bottled water to customers on our priority services register until everyone is confirmed back in supply.

“Efforts are under way to ensure supplies to enable all primary and secondary schools and colleges in the area to open as normal tomorrow.”