Rumfields water tower burst mended but it may be ‘some time’ before water flowing again

Southern Water at the Rumfields burst Photo Neal Parton

Southern Water workers have fixed a burst at Rumfields water tower but say it may take ‘some time’ before they get water flowing again.

Properties in Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate and Manston have been without water supply since the early hours of yesterday (December 19) with some reporting a loss the previous evening.

Bottled water stations were opened at Dane Court school and Asda Westwood yesterday and Dane Court is open again this morning.

Southern Water say: “Our teams worked through the night to fix the burst water main so that we can return supply to our customers. The repair is now complete, however it’s going to take time to get water flowing throughout the network and supply returns. 

“Deliveries to our vulnerable customers on our Priority Services Register have recommenced. 

“Our bottled water station at Dane Court Grammar School reopened at 8am.   We’re not able to open the bottled water site at ASDA Broadstairs, however we’re looking for an alternative location nearby and will update as soon as we can.  

“Please allow extra time when making any journeys as there is likely to be heavy congestion.”

An email sent to one customer says it could take up to 24 hours to get water flowing to customers at the end of the network.

A second bottled water station is open at St George’s School.


10am: Southern Water says: “We are sorry for the distress and inconvenience caused to our customers by the disruption to water supplies in Thanet.   

“Our teams worked through the night and have fixed the burst water main at Rumfields, Broadstairs.   Although the repair is now complete, the network is complex and it will take time to get water flowing throughout and supply to fully return.   

“We have two bottled water stations open at Dane Court Grammar School and St George’s C of E Foundation School, both in Broadstairs. There is heavy traffic in the area of the schools so please be patient.  

“We will be updating our customers about compensation payments in the coming days. Payments, which will be credited directly to customer accounts, will be based on the Ofwat Guaranteed Standards Scheme, a scheme that we support.  

“We would like to thank our customers and the communities affected by this incident for their patience and understanding during this time.” 

1pm: Southern Water says: “With the burst fixed, we are beginning to see pressure return and water start to flow. This will still take a number of hours, and water will return gradually depending on where you are on our network. We need to work carefully so that we don’t suffer further bursts as the water pressure is increased. This means that for some customers it could be a few hours before they get their water supply as the network is over 100km km long in this area.

“Bottled water stations will remain open today until 10pm at Dane Court Grammar School, CT10 2RT and St George’s School, CT10 2LH, and deliveries to our vulnerable customers on the Priority Services Register will continue.

“As water starts to return, you may still have low pressure – this is normal and is only temporary. You can also expect to see bubbles and discolouration. More information about what you can expect is available here.”


  1. There’s a picture on the Southern Water FB page of the brocken pipe, it can’t have been buried more than 12” and directly under the pathway, extremely vulnerable to movement from a lorry mounting the pathway , frost heave etc.

    • Yes,I was also surprised at the shallow depth of the pipe.Nowhere near deep enough,to avoid damage from a heavy lorry or damage to freeze the activity.

    • No surprise, the entire system is run on Victorian technology. London alone has nearly five times the number of inhabitants as it did back then & they weren’t flushing wipes etc.

      The water companies were given the money to upgrade in the 1990’s-no prizes for guessing where it ended up.

      • Well a bit errant, the Rumsfield road tower was built in the 30’s, whilst cast iron pipes can be classed as victorian era technology , it can certainly be said they’ve been effective a d long lasting.
        London has the new “super sewer”

        The water companies were privatised because the government didn’t want to invest its own money and given the inefficiencies of public bodies that’s hardly surprising ( the likes of TDC running our water system seem a good idea to anyone?)

        The 90’s saw the “clean sweep” programme of sewerage upgrades along the south coast by southern water and many other water companies around the country. First reference i could find.

        Basic utilities obviously have an issue with forward planning, no government in the past would have forecast ( or admitted to) the amount of inward migration the nation has experienced. So how do you ascertain what level of provision is needed , especially as your customer base are the ones paying for it. So southern water would have planned for a degree of population growth in thanet and an ability to recoup its costs wether that growth occurred or not. As a result we now don’t have the capacity we’d like, but if we’re all prepared to pay we can have what we want, at which point things stall, as the pockets of the most vocal are’nt deep enough and most people are a bit more pragmatic.

  2. I have got to congratulate southern water for working hard to get water flowing again, things happen, and southern water was quick to get on site and supply bottled water ,so give the guys a break they are working hard to restore supply.

  3. Perhaps if some of the £60 billion paid to water company shareholders since it was privatised, would have gone to updating the mostly Victorian water system had it remained in public ownership! My guess is they may have to super chlorinate the water pipes as they may have been contaminated with sludge, and other outside muck!

  4. Privatisation has done absolutely no good at all to everything. The Tories are privatised the only ones who it done good to is the shareholders who rake off the billions year after year were the likes of Southern water pollute our seas and skimp on their responsibilities. That’s why they were fined a record £90 million just a few months back for poisoning the sea around our coast, so in my eyes it’s not well done guys it’s you’re useless it should be taken back into public sector as all the utilities and rail and post office service.
    This useless government thinks that if they sell things off, which belong to the taxpayer, the companies and not the government will get the blame for the appalling way consumers are treated. The energy companies are making billions upon billions of pounds worth of profit at our expense. Peter needs to go to Specsavers because like a typical Tori he can’t see the damage his beloved party. Has done and continues to do to the U.K. They should change they name to the Trash party.

    • Under private ownership, private enterprise stumps up the cash to build a new national infrastructure project, such as a nuclear power station, or a water treatment plant. The government can claim that the project is costing the taxpayer very little. Which is true, this year. But next year, and the year after (etc) the taxpayer (ie the consumer of the electricity or water) pays over the odds for decades to come.
      Meanwhile, money paid to the company, instead of being reinvested in new infrastructure, goes to shareholder dividends

  5. Andrew how can you be so wrong in what you say you are not Peter by any chance are you? because he talks just as daft as you do. Do you honestly think that the private companies use their own money, the taxpayers pay for it all that’s why these companies make billions.

  6. Typical southern water lack of investment in the infrastructure and all you get is sorry, who ever thought having water pick up points at Dane Court and Asda needs firing, total gridlock, let’s hope all the homes and businesses affected can claim compensation from these charlatans. I bet the bosses will still receive their big bonuses at the end of the year, utilities should never have been privatised.

    • The fines that SE Water, are supposed to pay should be so egregious that even their boardroom will have to respond. Perhaps, fines in the neighbourhood of 10 million to 50 million pounds should be more common. The water and sewage infrastructure needs massive redevelopment. I can’t envision these corporatist clowns ponying up the impressive and daunting cost for such an undertaking. When Labour get elected( and they will) they may mandate SE Water, to pay for the infrastructure improvements. Of course, SE Water will sell up to another faceless entity, and the regurgitation of false promises, fake empathy and corporate indifference to customer complaints will continue on its lustful profit driven path under the new hedge fund owners based in a tropical tax haven.

  7. Every time I have past the water tower big HGVs have been going in or out of that site as well has parked on the pavement I would guess it’s more likely that heavy vehicles have contributed to the pipe failure especially as it was not very deep in the ground. The pipe was not frozen before otherwise we would not have had any water from it.

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