Several backyards flooded and taps ran dry as a Stratford water main burst only hours before it was meant to be fixed yesterday.
The Stratford District Council issued a statement yesterday morning saying the water supply was damaged, leaking and needed urgent maintenance before it became a bigger problem.
The plan was to turn off the water supply and fix the main line between 8pm yesterday and 6am today, but before that could happen, the pipe ruptured and spilt thousands of litres of water down Regan St and through nearby properties.
The council has said they apologise for the inconvenience.
"The 20-year-old water pipe that burst has a life expectancy of 80-100 years."
After the main broke, Stratford was without water all afternoon and evening.
Water was restored at 8pm.
Regan St resident and Taranaki Daily News library and archiving co-ordinator Deborah Gould panicked when she heard her garden was under more than a metre of water yesterday.
"We've been doing all this gardening. We've just had two loads of topsoil put on because we were reseeding and we've put lots of expensive plants in and a few thousand dollars worth of white stone and fencing."
Her husband Jim Gould was at home working in his office when the backyard began filling up.
"It was like a river coming down. It was like the Amazon was flowing through here," he said.
Mrs Gould said lots of time and effort had gone into their garden, which is terraced on one side and slopes down to a flat lawn area and babbling brook.
"We had just finished it for summer. We'd been working on it for about 12 to 18 months and it was just finished. Jim's spent hours working on it."
While it was impossible to tell how much damage was done while the garden was still submerged yesterday, some plants were clearly dying.
The water had also spread gravel from the driveway across the lawn and silt covered the road.
- Taranaki Daily News
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