On a sweltering day it was the last thing villagers wanted. A burst water pipe in Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, left about 5,000 homes and businesses in the area without water. And as workers toiled to replace the 30-centimetre-diameter pipe and fill the giant crater left by the burst, traffic was brought to a halt along Lam Kam Road well into the evening. 'Everybody is hot and frustrated,' said local Sarah Jenkyn-Jones, while pedestrians crowded the cordoned-off pavements on either side of the crater. Many complained they were left without drinking water and could not take a shower. Jenkyn-Jones had run into the roadblock while driving her four children - two sets of twins aged six and four - to their 9am tennis practice. She drove back home, then they made the journey on foot. As the family trudged back home in the heat she refused to allow her picture to be taken. Her face and clothes dripping with sweat, she bathed herself with bottled water. Her children, faces flushed with the heat, sipped water bottles as they trekked up Lam Kam Road, back to their home in Hong Lok Yuen. A very hot weather warning was in force from the Observatory, and temperatures nudged 33 degrees Celsius. Jenkyn-Jones noticed there was no water shortly after midnight, when she called the Water Supplies Department's emergency hotline. 'They said there was no leak reported. I said, 'Well, there's no water'.' At 7am there was still no water, but by then the department told Jenkyn-Jones they had found the burst pipe and started repair work. The burst stopped business for many people. Unable to shower until early in the afternoon, businessman Tommy Wong Siu-hong missed his train to Guangzhou, which left at 9am. Hurrying down Lam Kam Road to find a minibus to the train station, he expressed his anger with the water supply authorities. 'No one told us what was happening,' Wong said, explaining his water stopped running at about 1am. Flooding was another concern for people with homes nearby. An Indonesian domestic helper, Wiwik, struggled to sweep aside slippery muck from her employer's driveway with a tattered broom. She had almost slipped while carrying water from Water Supplies Department vehicles to the house, and she feared her elderly employer would fall and injure himself. A construction worker on the scene from Ming Hing Waterworks, which worked with the department to fix the problem, blamed the mess on old pipes. A department worker at the scene, who refused to give his name, said the pipe was one of several that had not yet been renovated. 'The main pipe around the road has been replaced, but the section pipe was not included,' he said. The offending pipe was 25 years old, according to Mak Sai-king, senior engineer at the department. 'It's unfortunate that this happens sometimes.' Mak said water supplies were restored at about 7pm and that Lam Kam Road would be open to traffic at 9pm.