It was not a good day in Medford for doing laundry, dishes or watering the lawn.

The town's water supply was shut down until late this afternoon and a boil-water advisory is in effect as a precaution after a water main ruptured yesterday morning.

The old municipal works building in Meaford was open today, July 23, 2013, so residents could pick up bottled drinking water. Darlene Nitzbon picked up two jugs but expects to come back for more because the water isn't just for drinking.

 “Washing your vegetables, you use it a lot,” she says. “You don't realize it until you are without.”

Residents were entirely without water yesterday because the pipe that broke was the town’s main supply from the water treatment plant and a small bypass around the problem didn’t have enough capacity to pressurize the system.

No running water means not flushing toilets and many of the restaurants in town have been forced to close. Nursing homes and the hospital resorted to portable toilets outside their doors.

The manager of the Meaford hospital says the emergency room is open but surgeries have been cancelled for now.

“The most impacted right now is the operating room,” says Kevin de Jong with the hospital. “For safety reasons we have rebooked those surgeries to other area sites.”

Work crews repaired the leak and got the water flowing again last night, but found more problems with the pipe, so plans were made to shut the water off again today to do a permanent fix.

Meaford’s director of operations was asking residents to use water sparingly while repairs were being made today. But two shut off valves malfunctioned and the repair effort had to be postponed.

“We are going to schedule a project later in the year which will include replacing or repairing these valves which also need the system shut down in order to complete it properly,” says Stephen Vokes.

Residents can continue picking up bottled water at the municipal works building on Collingwood Street until 8 p.m. daily. The bottled water will be available free of charge until the boil water advisory is lifted.