A large part of Aldershot was left without water on Friday due to a burst water main

An eight inch main running under the High Street ruptured at about 4.30am and left much of the northern part of the town without water — or with low water pressure — for several hours.

Contractors for the suppliers, French-owned South East Water, arrived on the scene, opposite Manor Park, at 7am.

Work then took place to seal off the area in the road where water gushed up through the tarmac.

Pumping equipment and a mini-JCB were brought in to deal with the problem.

However, work was still under way during the morning rush-hour, causing lengthy tailbacks in both directions along the High Street.

Workmen at the scene estimated that it would take all day to reconnect homes and businesses to the main.

They also said South East Water were setting up a "back feed" system from another part of the network to restore supplies as soon as possible.

It turned out that supplies were returned by 10am to most homes, but with a brown tinge to the water.

A spokesman apologised on behalf of the company and said some residents had been supplied with bottled water while supplies were cut.

The cut came on what was forecast to be the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures climbing to 25C or 77F.

Ironically, it happened just days before tomorrow's first National Drink Water Day, which is being backed by South East Water.

The company, in conjunction with the National Kidney Research Fund, is hoping to persuade people to opt for water over tea, coffee or fizzy drinks.

A spokesman for South East Water said: "Most of us know that to stay fit and healthy we need to eat less fat, more fibre, more fruit and to take exercise.

"But I urge people not to forget the importance of drinking water. Two-thirds of the body is made up of water, so it is vital to our existence."

Even on a cool day, the body loses four pints of water and not drinking enough can lead to dehydration, lethargy, head-aches, constipation and more than 75% of hunger pangs are signals of thirst.

Blood is 92% water, bones contain 22% and the brain is 75% water.

It is recommended we drink two litres of water each day.