Council hopes to learn from water shortages

Garfield Road Hailsham Burst Water Pipe SUS-150625-122852001
Garfield Road Hailsham Burst Water Pipe SUS-150625-122852001

Officers and Councillors from Wealden District Council are reviewing the events that led to water shortages across Hailsham earlier this year in a bid to stop it happening again.

In May, thousands of homes were left without water for up to 48 hours after a 30-inch- diameter, cast-iron water main burst on the A22, at the Diplocks roundabout.

Just last week, a number of homes were left without water after two burst mains - one in Diplocks Way on Wednesday morning (June 24) and another on Garfield Road on Thursday morning (June 25).

Members of Wealden District Council met with key partners and volunteers to review and learn from these events. Councillor Nick Collinson, cabinet member for community leadership, spoke at the meeting. He said: “Firstly, I’d like to extend the thanks of Wealden District Council, and the residents of the affected areas, to the volunteers who pitched in to help out.

“This meeting was a great chance to review the response to the situation, and discuss ways to improve the arrangements should a similar event occur in the future, using the knowledge and experience of volunteers and our partners.”

At the meeting, Cllr Collinson met with Wealden District Council director of Environment and Community Services Nigel Hannam, Sussex 4x4 group liaison officer Graham Payne, David Broadley and Jim Foster from the East Sussex Resilience and Emergencies Partnership, as well as volunteers Sam Imber, Kevin Brundle and Paul Gibson.

Nigel Hannam said:”The positive meeting identified a number of learning points which will be actioned and applied should similar situations occur across the district or county.

“In line with normal practice at the council and the emergency planning partnership, we review the emergency response after each incident and the input from volunteers has been extremely valuable.”

A number of Hailsham residents responded to the water shortage by setting up a Facebook group, called Hailsham News and Talk, to organise the distribution of bottled water.

The group, headed by Sam Imber, liaised with South East Water and rallied volunteers to help distribute water to residents - including delivering bottled water to the elderly and disabled who couldn’t make it to the designated collection points.

The water main burst in the early hours of Sunday and was repaired on Monday.

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