£535,000 upgrades aim to prevent repeat of villages south of Norwich losing water at Christmas

Flashback to last year: An engineer operating the valves at Caistor St Edmund as Anglian Water striv

Flashback to last year: An engineer operating the valves at Caistor St Edmund as Anglian Water strives to restore water supplies to homes in the Caistor and Poringland areas. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

It was a Christmas week to forget, after a burst main left residents of two villages without running water for two days during last year's festive season.

But now, 12 months on, Anglian Water has completed £535,000 of work it said will allow Caistor St Edmund and Framingham Earl to receive water direct from Norwich if the main bursts again, bypassing the Caistor treatment works.

Last year's problems started on December 27, when one of the main water pipes coming from the nearby treatment works burst in cold weather.

It left about 5,000 homes and businesses south of Norwich relying on bowsers for water.

Paul Naylor, Anglian Water's regional manager, said: 'Last year, we faced an extremely difficult repair on a large pipe some 20 feet underground.

'The hole we had to dig overnight was deeper a double-decker bus.

'That alone made it an engineering challenge requiring specialist equipment, but the freezing temperatures added to the difficulty.

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'Of course, we were most desperate to get it sorted for customers.

'It was just after Christmas and we knew they had families over and were looking forward to new year celebrations.

'That's why we had hundreds of people working around the clock to get the job done and water back on to all within 48 hours.'

He said that, while it was not possible to completely eliminate the risk of bursts, it was possible to take action to reduce it.

The upgrades in the area took six months to complete, with alterations to pipework, and a new ultra-resilient booster pump.

Mr Naylor added: 'We are extremely grateful to the residents of Norfolk for the patience and understanding they showed last year. This scheme shows how committed we are to keeping taps flowing and minimising disruption to our customers.

'Rest assured our dedicated teams will be working right across the county over Christmas and New Year, as well as at our 24-hour emergency call centre in Lincoln, ready to respond to any issues as quickly as humanly possible.'

The company asked anyone who sees a leak to report it on Anglia Water's 24-hour freephone leak line 0800 771 881 or online at www.anglianwater.co.uk/yourarea

Do you have a story about the Caistor St Edmund and Framingham Earl areas? Email jemma.walker@archant.co.uk