A corroded pipe halted the supply of water to 89 Pakenham properties on Wednesday forcing several businesses on Main Street to shut up shop for the day.
Crews began emergency repair work on a ruptured water main on Main Street about 7am on the corner of Main Street and John Street, closing off a section of the road along the central shopping strip.
The works mainly affected Main Street businesses along the shopping strip as well as some surrounding properties on Station Street, John Street and Slattery Place.
Gourmet No. 1 Chinese Restaurant owner John Lei had prepared food for a day of trading and was shocked to discover in the morning that he had no running water.
“I called South East Water at 11am and they told me we would have water in half an hour,” Mr Lei said.
“Then after half an hour, still no water, so I called them again and they told me it would take another half an hour. I’ve spent the whole day on and off the phone and all they have said is that it will be another half an hour but I still don’t have any running water.
“I’m really upset. If they had told me the truth – that it wouldn’t be back on today – I would have told my staff to go home. I have to pay them their wages for waiting around all day. It’s not fair.
“Or I could have prepared water in pots to use today. How do you cook rice without water? We’re open for dinner in the evening and I still don’t know whether we will have water or not.”
Cafe 127 manager Yen Pham started work at 7.30am and noticed there was no running water at about 8am.
“I was unable to open today,” he said.
“We lost business for the day but what else can I do? There was no water.”
Cafe Vanille & French Patisserie, Pakenham Fish & Chips, Kebabs Pakenham and Giuliani Caffe were among a number of other businesses impacted by the ruptured water main.
They displayed signs apologising to customers on their shopfront windows.
South East Water spokesperson Matt Mollett said the water supply was expected to be restored by 7pm.
“The works, which relate to a corroded steel pipe, are in close proximity to electricity and telecommunications services, and are taking longer than we would like,” Mr Mollett said.
“While we have taken steps to keep customers updated both on the ground and online, we recognise these works have resulted in significant disruption to local business and residential customers, and we apologise for the inconvenience caused.
“In the meantime, customers needing emergency drinking water should take containers to a hydrant on 84 Main Street.”
Mr Mollett said the corrosion was caused by a natural process of electrolysis and that crews would treat the pipe against further corrosion as part of the repair process.
Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.