THOUSANDS of residents faced flooding chaos after one of the city’s main water pipes ruptured – sparking dramatic scenes as streets were turned into rivers.
Roads were closed and neighbours scrambled for sandbags as water rushed towards their homes.
Some people, including pensioners, were temporarily marooned inside their properties as the torrent surged through Liberton after the pipe burst yesterday afternoon.
The force of the water gushing out of the ground in Orchardhead Loan lifted nearby pavements, sent recycling bins loaded with bottles smashing into parked cars and appeared to have cracked the road surface in at least three places.
Puddles of water 2ft deep formed outside homes across a half-mile radius, while garages and basements were flooded.
As well as a major clean-up operation, an investigation was today under way to establish whether the burst pipe was down to wear and tear or the result of bungled roadworks.
Residents were warned they may face low water pressure and a discoloured supply until repairs were completed.
Among those affected was Mustafa Azgan, who used turf from his garden and sandbags to staunch the flow of water into Mid Liberton.
The 40-year-old only bought the house three weeks ago and has been renovating it as a family home to share with his wife and son.
He said: “We were working inside and we saw a huge amount of water coming towards us. I was shocked when I saw it.
“We tried to cover the garage entrance but it was not possible.”
Water surged down a hillside after the “major burst” on one of the key pipelines into the city, with police, the fire service and council experts all racing to the scene.
One worker described the damage as the worst burst pipe he had seen in more than a decade on the job.
Another said it was “fortunate” most of the houses affected were built on a slope.
He added: “Otherwise it would have been chaos.”
The water flowed down Liberton Road, Liberton Brae, Orchardhead Road and Kirkbrae, lapping over pavements and running down both sides of the road.
Traffic was forced to slow to a crawl to avoid some of the deeper pools of water.
Most main roads were kept open although some streets – including Orchardhead Road and Orchardhead Loan – were closed to non-emergency vehicles.
No-one was evacuated, but customers were warned their supplies may be affected during repairs.
Scottish Water said it was fixing the damage and apologised to residents for the problem.
A spokeswoman from the company said: “Clean-up work has begun to clear away earlier localised flooding caused by the burst on the 22-inch water main.
“Any traffic management or road closures will be lifted as soon as possible in order to minimise disruption and we are working closely with the council to assess any road damage and subsequent reinstatement.
“We would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused by this exceptional incident and will continue to update customers on our progress.
“Our focus is on making a repair as soon as possible and returning the supply and the area to normal.
“As soon as the water flooding is stopped, we will have specialist advisers out to visit these customers to assess the damage.”