At around 5.30pm on Wednesday, hundreds of residents saw their water supplies completely shut off.
Southern Water said construction work on a patch of land near Shoreham Airport led to a pile being mistakenly driven through a large water main that feeds Shoreham Beach
“Due to the location at the end of a network, rezoning water in from another area is not an option,” a spokesman said.
“However, due to the cause and location of the burst being known our team was able to start work quickly to dig down, expose the pipe, cut out the affected section and replace it – bringing water back in to the network at around 11.30pm.
“We know that any loss of supply, however short, is disruptive and we are sorry for the inconvenience experience by residents during the evening.”
Councillor Joss Loader said mains water continued to come out dirty well into Thursday afternoon, but she praised the water company for its swift response.
“Shoreham Beach was left without water at the worst possible time as people were heading home from work, cooking dinner and getting their children off to bed,” she said.
“To their credit, the Southern Water teams did prioritise this and supplies were re-instated relatively swiftly.
“People’s main criticism was the lack of communication as it took a while for Southern Water to tell us what was going on.
“Moving forward, I hope the construction workers have been given the necessary briefings to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“We know accidents can happen but it really shouldn’t be difficult, using well-established technology and safety procedures, to pinpoint a major water main and to take the necessary precautions.“
Construction work on hundreds of homes and a water pumping station is well underway at New Monks Farm, next to Shoreham Airport.
The developer, Community Stadium Ltd, has been contacted for comment.