Central Highlands Water is investigating the cause of three separate water main bursts that occurred in quick succession on Friday.
They took place on three different, busy Ballarat thoroughfares just ahead of the weekend - which a spokesperson for the utility company said was rare.
It is unclear whether the leaks, which took place on Norman Street, Armstrong Street North and Doveton Street North and caused significant disruption to motorists and local businesses, were linked. Several restaurants on Armstrong Street lost an entire evening's trade.
The Central Highlands Water (CHW) spokesperson said engineers and maintenance crews were working to establish the cause and whether the bursts were related.
The first and most most severe burst occurred mid-afternoon on Norman Street by the Stockland shopping centre. Water cascaded down the street, gathering at the roundabout with Gillies Street North.
Motorists were disrupted, with one car parked where much of the water had pooled. One lane outside the Norman Street side of Stockland remained closed on Saturday, with CHW workmen replacing a large section of old pipework. Works are ongoing although the lane had re-opened by Sunday evening.
Despite the size of the burst, only a minor impact was reported for businesses in the area with running water cut off for a few hours in the shopping centre on Friday afternoon. There were no reports of any businesses closing.
A minor water-main burst on Doveton Street close to the junction with Mair Street, also appeared not to have a significant impact on nearby cafes and businesses.
The same however, was not the case on Armstrong Street North, the heart of the city's restaurant area. Several businesses were forced to close down altogether, while others had to take emergency measures, shipping water in from elsewhere to continue operating. Water was restored just before 10pm.
I hope that something is looked into after this unfortunate event. Otherwise this is going to keep happening.Simone Baur-Schmid of Meigas
Meigas, Pancho, Saigon Vietnam Noodle House and Saigon Allee were all forced to shut their doors completely. Meigas had been booked out for the evening - including a party of 27 celebrating the opening of the Foto Biennale. All lost an entire evening of busy Friday evening trading.
Restaurants such as The Forge, Zambrero, Griffin Burger and Tokyo Grill House, as well as Brown Grain on Sturt Street managed to stay open. Several said their staff had to carry water from other businesses still connected to the mains to carry on serving customers.
Simone Baur-Schmid of Meigas said the combined bill from lost trade, wages and wasted food for Meigas and Pancho was between $20,000 to $25,000. Other businesses also reported significant losses. Ms Baur-Schmid said she was hoping CHW might offer compensation.
"I hope that something is looked into after this unfortunate event," she added. "Otherwise this is going to keep happening."
In answer to a query over possible compensation, a CHW spokesperson said that the company would "continue to work with each business owner affected by Friday's interruption".
They also cited a $130 million of capital investment over five years with a "comprehensive renewals and infrastructure program".
It was the latest in a series of utility issues for Armstrong Street. Following a series of power outages on the street this year, Powercor carried out upgrades that reportedly finished last week.
In a statement, CHW thanked the community for "their patience, cooperation and understanding."
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