Express & Star

Peter Rhodes on uni fees, water thieves and the epic task of repairing a leak in a wood

It is fashionable to bellyache about “Broken Britain,” as with the burst water main which left 30,000 homes in East Sussex without water. And yet consider what followed this catastrophic leak.

Fixing a hole

Firstly, a well-oiled emergency plan swung into action to deliver plastic bottles of water (the Bottles of Hastings?) to all 30,000 properties. There were some glitches but I doubt if even the Royal Mail could have delivered so many items to so many correct addresses so promptly.

The burst pipe lay deep underground in a thick forest. It was the most difficult and inaccessible burst some experts had ever seen. Yet Southern Water somehow assembled a team and the machinery to cut down 50 trees, excavate a massive hole, cut out the huge old pipe, and replace it with a new section.