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A broken water main has forced two Dunedin schools to close early today.
Pupils from Tahuna Normal Intermediate and Musselburgh School were sent home early after water supplies were cut to both schools school and surrounding houses this afternoon.
Tahuna principal Tony Hunter said the incident happened about 12.30pm, as Downer contractors worked to remove a power pole near the school.
It appeared the pole's concrete footing had damaged an underground water main as the old power pole was removed, cutting supplies and sending water pouring into the street, he said.
"There was a lot of water running down the street, that's for sure," he said.
Without water or the ability to flush toilets, the decision was made to close the school and send all 546 pupils home, Mr Hunter said.
Parents were being notified to collect their children, but pupils unable to be picked up early would remain in class under staff supervision until 3pm, he said.
Mr Hunter was philosophical about the performance of the contractors.
"It was just one of those things that happens. They will probably learn from the experience."