Memorial University will have to dig deep to pay for a water main break on its St. John's campus.

Crews are working to repair the break outside Paton College, a network of residences built in the 1960s, in a job the university says could cost up to $150,000.

Roughly 1,000 students who live in the residences, and the complex's dining hall, are getting their water through hoses connected to fire hydrants.

Those living at the newer Macpherson College are not affected by the break.

A spokesperson for MUN told CBC News on Wednesday that city crews discovered a minor leak in August with their sounding equipment.

Memorial University

One of the trees in the residence square had to be cut down to get at the broken pipe. (CBC)

"The initial plan was to do repairs while students were gone for Christmas break, but the leak deteriorated to the point where we had to initiate the repair last week," Dave Sorensen wrote in an email response.

A backhoe was digging in the residence square Wednesday, and at least one of the old trees in the area had been cut down to facilitate the work.

The university said it hopes to have water turned back on by Thursday, and that the grounds, sidewalk and planters would be back in place within the next week.