Workmen flooded a busy junction after cutting through a water main while carrying out roadworks.
Essex and Suffolk Water received reports of a burst main in Bridge Street, Witham, at the junction with Spinks Lane, at about 11am today.
It said the burst affected water supplies to 40 homes and caused “considerable traffic disruption”.
A spokesman said: "Essex and Suffolk Water takes all damage to the water supply network very seriously and we would like to thank our customers for their patience during this incident.
“The damage to the water main at a busy junction in the town was caused by a third-party contractor not working on the water supply network.”
Repair work was complete by about 3pm and water supplies restored by “mid afternoon”.
Roadworks are taking place in the area as part of a project involving remodelling the junction of Bridge Street, Hatfield Road, Spinks Lane and Howbridge Road and updating traffic signals.