NI Water completes £6m upgrade work
Scheme 'will significantly improve' water quality in Down
NI Water has completed a major £6m scheme designed to significantly improve the quality of water in Co Down.
The Ballydougan to Newry trunk main works will improve "storage and security of the water supply for local customers", according to the body.
Works also included refurbishing and extending the Carnbane and Cullyhanna water pumping stations.
Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said: " The Ballydougan to Newry water improvement scheme represents a major £6m investment by NI Water to significantly improve the security of supply and quality of water for customers in Newry and the surrounding area.
"This major scheme will be especially important in supplementing increased demand in the area, particularly during winter periods or emergency situations when the infrastructure may be particularly vulnerable."
Paul Davison, NI Water project sponsor, said the project would ensure the organisation "continues to meet key water supply and EU drinking water quality directives".
"We at NI Water are pleased to announce the completion of this major investment project, which is essential for the continued security of the local water supply," he added.
"This project is just one example of our continued commitment to delivering safe, clean drinking water to homes and businesses across Northern Ireland and supplying customers with approximately 559 million litres of good-quality drinking water every day.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers and local representatives for their patience and cooperation throughout the overall project."
The programme included work at Crieve service reservoir, where the existing 0.4 mega-litre (400,000 litre) tank was replaced by a new 4.2 mega-litre (4.2 million litre) reservoir.
DUP councillor Garth Craig, the deputy chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, welcomed the scheme and said the improvements made at Carnbane pumping station would bring major benefits to Newry and the surrounding area. "This major investment is good news for customers in the area as it will improve the security of the water supply infrastructure," he stressed.
The project involved undertaking upgrading work at a number of sites including Camlough water treatment works, Newry west service reservoir and Camly service reservoir. NI Water enjoyed a strong year after increasing its overall revenues to £380m.
The State-owned water supplier has also invested around £140m in capital schemes across the network, according to its annual report and accounts for 2015/16.
It also said that revenue had increased from £377.2m to £380m.
During the year, it generated an operating surplus of £101.5m and returned £24.7m back to the public purse.
NI Water said it had continued investment in its water and wastewater infrastructure, with around £1.9bn being invested since 2007.
In its latest accounts - which were published in September - NI Water said it had delivered "near record levels of water and wastewater compliance, supporting some of the best bathing waters in Europe".
NI Water also said customers were paying 12% less, on average, for their water and sewerage services than they did four years ago, taking inflation into account.
NI Water chair Dr Len O'Hagan, speaking in the latest accounts, said: "Customers in Northern Ireland today and in the future deserve to have access to the same high levels of service, water quality and environmental standards as customers in England, Wales and Scotland.
"We invest in new treatment works, and deliver infrastructure to maintain and expand capacity.
"In so doing, we enable development in many diverse sectors of our economy from agri-food production, to new house construction, to tourism development."