ALMOST 1,600 homes in Matlock were left without water and schools were forced to shut today after a pipe burst and sent thousands of gallons of water cascading towards the town.
The underground main on Smedley Street is thought to have split this morning, with the first reports to Severn Trent Water made at around 8.30am.
People had complained that water from the tap had turned brown earlier in the morning then lost all pressure hours later.
Workers were on the scene by 9.45am and immediately closed off Woolley Road in both directions as they set about isolating the major leak.
Water was gushing out on to the street and heading down Woolley Road, Dimple Road and out onto the busy Bakewell Road where it began to gather.
Gravel was thrown across Bakewell Road to allow cars to pass safely, but still caused traffic to back up.
Severn Trent Water said it had been a 12-inch PVC pipe that had burst and they were working as quickly as possible to re-supply homes and businesses.
Despite this, All Saints’ Infants and Junior School were forced to close in the afternoon.
The Mercury spoke to teaching assistant Julie Pine at the junior site on Hurds Hollow at around noon.
She said: “We are in the process of sending the children home, it’s health and safety reasons really – we can’t flush the toilets, the children can’t get a drink.”
Severn Trent Water said that depending on the extent of the work, they had been considering ‘re-zoning’ – linking the town up with a supply from another area as a short term measure.
However, they did hope that the supply should be back up and running by yesterday afternoon but warned that some work may carry over to today and there was a risk of further disruption.
A spokesman said: “We have attended the burst pipe and realise that people are without water so we are working as fast as we can and hopefully restore the supply by the afternoon.
“We apologise for the inconvenience and hope people will bear with us while we carry out the repairs.”