Workmen survey the scene after they severed a water main while installing a new power cable under upper Stuart St, near Highgate Bridge in Dunedin.
Watching water gush from the main into a ditch and down Stuart St, a Dunedin City Council employee was heard yelling to Fulton Hogan workers: "That's the one main we told you not to hit!''
Council networks contract manager William Clifford said the main was damaged about 9.30am by contractors carrying out trenching work for Aurora Energy, the Otago Daily Times reported.
Two mains running up the street were shut to determine where the damage was, cutting water to about 100 houses in the Highgate area, he said.
Later in the day, he said work was taking longer than expected and some network issues meant about 200 to 300 properties might have been without water for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon.
Properties affected were in the Highgate area from Roslyn to Belleknowes.
Water should have been restored yesterday, but further shutdowns might be needed today while the pipe was being repaired, he said.