A BURST water main sent huge volumes of water cascading across roads and into people's homes.

A total of 17 houses were flooded and the A2220 Horsham Road was closed for hours as a result of the major leak in the Bewbush area of Crawley yesterday afternoon.

Police and fire crews were called to the scene just after 2pm as drivers reported water gushing across the highway.

At the height of the flooding, the water was more than 30cm deep as it submerged a large area covering the Horsham Road roundabout, Pelham Drive and Breezehurst Drive.

The Argus:

Emergency crews remained at the scene for more than four hours and worked to minimise the impact of the incident.

However, the water was able to flow into several nearby homes with residents seen bailing out their ground floor rooms with buckets.

Speaking from the scene at 6pm yesterday, incident commander Richard Bradley of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: "We received multiple calls for flooding in the Bewbush area.

The Argus:

"Three fire appliances were mobilised and it was determined that a water main had burst, flooding a large area of Bewbush.

"A total of 17 properties were flooded and we are working with Southern Water, Sussex Police and Crawley Borough Council for the safety and wellbeing of the residents affected."

Officials from Southern Water also attended the scene.

The Argus:

The company said it was able to isolate the burst water main and secure nearby customers' water supplies by 5.30pm yesterday.

But it warned that people in the area might experience low water pressure as a result of the incident.

A spokesman said: "Due to the volume of water released (600 litres per second) during the burst unfortunately a small number homes were flooded and we’re supporting these customers.

The Argus:

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

The company provided an update on the situation this morning, saying customers living near the affected area may notice their water was discoloured.

The spokesman said: "We apologise for any inconvenience caused by today’s major burst in Bewbush, Crawley.

"As the network refills customers may notice slight discolouration to water.

The Argus:

"This is normal and you can find more information on our website."

Due to the heavy flooding, the A2220 Horsham Road was closed by police for several hours with officers urging drivers to avoid the area if possible.

The road has now been reopened.