Burst water main in Edinburgh causes chaos for thousands

Burst water pipe on Liberton Brae. Picture Greg Macvean
Burst water pipe on Liberton Brae. Picture Greg Macvean
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Homes and businesses in the city centre were plunged into chaos after two burst water mains cut off the supply for thousands and caused flooding in some areas.

Mains burst on Orchardhead Loan and Dalkeith Road, leaving residents of six homes in Liberton counting the cost of flood damage, while the likes of the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Commonwealth Pool were closed to visitors for several hours.

Homes in the Old Town, Canongate, Liberton, Prestonfield, Little France and The Inch were thought to be amongst the worst affected.

One Liberton resident said his basement was under four feet of water, while images of the street strewn with debris including garage doors, kitchen units and bicycles circulated on social media.

Repairs were completed around 6pm last night.

A Scottish Water statement said: “A burst occurred on a trunk water main in Orchardhead Loan in the Liberton area early yesterday morning and affected normal supplies to some parts of the city.

“Scottish Water engineers worked to isolate the burst main and have been able to install backfeeds to bring water in from other parts of the network to help restore normal water supplies and water pressure to affected customers.

“We have liaised with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and are now focusing on cleaning the flood-affected areas and helping customers in the affected properties.”

The Botanics and the Commie both announced their closure at midday yesterday and despite the pool reopening at 4pm, the gardens remained closed throughout the rest of the day.

Heather Jackson, director of enterprise at the Botanics, said the decision was made to close amid health and safety fears, but added that it should be open today.

“The garden was running short of water just after 10.30am so shortly afterwards we had to close off the catering services and toilets to both the visiting public and members of staff,” she said.

“It would have been very disappointing for visitors who wanted to come to the garden in the afternoon, but it was a situation beyond our control.

“The garden remained closed on Friday but will be open for business as usual from 10am today.”

Mark McEwen, Scottish Water’s customer service general manager, said staff worked round the clock to repair the damage.

“We fully appreciate the inconvenience these outages can cause and we can assure affected customers that we will do everything possible to help them following this incident,” he said.

“We had staff on site in Orchardhead Loan to assist customers in those homes affected by flooding and they remained there for as long as is necessary.”

Mr McEwen added: “It is possible, following an incident of this nature, for secondary bursts to occur, but we will monitor this closely and respond quickly to minimise further disruption.”