Message from Southeast Water


I’m so sorry for the immense disruption to your water supply.
I’m writing to you personally to explain what happened in Sussex with water supplies during the past week, and what we did to put things right.

I acknowledge the significant disruption this ongoing incident has caused, and the difficulties you have faced while we have worked to restore your supply. I also appreciate this may not be the first time you have experienced these issues, and for that I am very sorry.

What happened?

Due to the recent cold weather, we have experienced a 300 per cent increase in bursts and leaks, on our network and in customers’ homes.  Across our supply area we lost 100 million litres of water to leaks and bursts in a very short space of time. This increased demand on water across Sussex resulting in our treated drinking water storage tanks emptying quicker than we were able to refill them.

On Wednesday we were able to reroute water from elsewhere in our network to fill our tanks enough to get most of our customers back in supply, however a major burst Thursday morning in the Selsfield area prevented our tanks filling as quickly as we would have expected. As a result, supplies to Sharpthorne, Turners Hill and West Hoathly were affected. There was a further burst overnight, and our teams are working to repair the network and restore supply as quickly as we can.

Bottled water stations

Bottled water stations in Crowborough and Balcombe are open until 16:00 today as a precaution, for customers who may still have intermittent supplies.

  • Beacon Academy, North Beeches Road, Crowborough, East Sussex, TN6 2AS
  • The Cowdray Arms, London Road, Balcombe, Haywards Heath, RH17 6QD

I understand the frustration you may have had regarding the location, queues and lack of stock at times at these bottled water stations. Water companies across the country are also experiencing high burst rates which meant bottled water, HGVs and drivers are in high demand nationally. At times the drivers were making 5 hour round trips to restock the supplies, and we had additional resources and vehicles on the roads to bring water to the area where we could.


We abide by our Customer Code of Practice – further details can be found on our website. This forms part of our Guaranteed Standards of Service (GSS) for household customers and is based on the requirements of the Water Act.

As soon as the network in the area stabilises, we will use our analysis of pressure and water flow data to understand how the area was impacted and for how long.

We will then assess what compensation levels may be applicable and automatically apply the compensation to eligible accounts in the New Year. Please be assured you will not need to contact us to be eligible.


Once again, I’m very sorry for what’s happened and water to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas.

David Hinton