Residents and holidaymakers on Cheung Chau were shocked yesterday when the fresh water supply to the island was cut by a burst main and no information was given on when it was likely to be restored. News of the cut led to an exodus of tourists, while residents of the island flocked to shops for bottled water. Islanders blamed authorities for causing chaos and uncertainty, saying they had been kept in the dark. The trouble began with the bursting of a three-metre main in Chi Ma Wan, on Lantau, which supplies Cheung Chau. The Water Supplies Department issued a statement at about 3pm that the island's fresh water supply would be cut completely from 3.45pm. It also deployed water tankers to ferry water to the island, which has a population of 40,000. 'Many of us did not know about the cut until reporters called for comments. It was outrageous,' Cheung Pak-lam, manager of Hing Lok Seafood Restaurant, said. 'I asked my staff to use whatever containers were available to store as much water as possible. Sunday is the golden day for business in the week. The government should pay us compensation.' A shop assistant at a holiday flat agency, Sam Yuen Hong, said their telephone lines were jammed by calls from grumbling guests. 'Some guests asked for refunds and some wanted to check out. It was simply an exodus,' he said, adding he only learned of the supply cut when he called the department's hotline. Running water was restored at about 6pm after emergency repairs to the water main. The island was last hit by a complete water cut in 1993 when a main was broken in a landslide.