Stallholders at a popular Bedok food centre were shocked when their taps went dry on Friday afternoon.
Water pipes at the Bedok Central Food Centre at Block 207, New Upper Changi Road, burst at about 1.30pm, which was smack in the middle of the lucrative lunchtime period.
The incident, which lasted more than two hours, affected 70 stallholders. Several of them told Chinese evening papers Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News that officers from the East Coast Town Council advised them to get water from the riser at the void deck of a nearby HDB block.
National water agency PUB told Lianhe Wanbao that it was notified of the incident at about 2pm and officers were dispatched to the food centre with a mobile water tank.
The hawkers found themselves in frantic queues as they waited to have their empty containers filled with water.
One of the affected stallholders, Mr Low Han Kwang, who runs Pontian Wanton Noodles, estimated that he lost about $200 during the water cut.
The 50-year-old said: "It was so hot and we had to queue up for water." Similarly, another hawker, from Old Airport Road Western Barbecue stall and who wanted to be known only as Mr Song, said that he lost "a few hundred dollars."
When The New Paper visited his stall on Saturday evening, Mr Song was seething as he said: "My monthly rental is $4,000 and I cannot waste any time at all as that means money down the drain. Time is money."
An economy rice stall operator, Madam Tang, told Lianhe Wanbao that the disruption meant that she could not wash the cutlery and crockery.
"I ended up using plastic ones and that meant my operating costs went up," she said.
Some hawkers also told the Chinese newspapers that because of the disruption, the flush system in the food centre's public toilets could not work, resulting in a stench.
They also complained that their businesses were also affected that night as they were forced to close earlier so that maintenance work could be carried out. A similar incident happened earlier this year at the same food centre, but it was resolved in 30 minutes.