Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

NI Water’s reservoir sale ‘stupid’, blasts councillor

A North Down councillor has blasted NI Water’s decision to sell seven reservoirs in the local area as “plain stupid” following the recent water drought.

Following the statement given by NI Water’s chairman Padraic White last week, that “reservoir levels in the greater Belfast area remain low ... leaving Belfast in a precarious position”, Alliance councillor Andrew Muir slammed its decision to sell.

Mr Muir said: “With many homes across Northern Ireland without water due to a widespread shortage, NI Water should take immediate steps to ensure a sufficient supply of water and cancel their plans to sell many reservoirs across Northern Ireland.

“Residents and businesses in Holywood were in recent days denied water, yet disgraceful plans are still afoot to sell many of the local reservoirs, which, I understand, were recently taken out of use.”

“I recently learned that over £3m was invested during 2003/04 to bring the Ballysallagh Lower Reservoir to EU drinking water standards. To then potentially sell the reservoir a few years later when Northern Ireland desperately needs water to cook, wash and avail of sanitary facilities is plain stupid.

“NI Water should save our reservoirs rather than sell them and reduce potential water supplies even further.

“Ballysallagh reservoirs aren't unfortunately the only reservoirs under immediate threat. Portavoe reservoir between Groomsport and Donaghadee is also listed for sale in 2011/12. Two reservoirs in Conlig are also scheduled for sale in 2013/14, with the sale of the Church Road and Creighton’s Green reservoirs scheduled for 2015/16.”

Last week NI Water static tanks were installed at Donaghadee and Kircubbin community centres as well as Queen’s leisure centre in Holywood, where showers were also made available to the public.

Although there is an improving situation emerging in relation to reservoir levels, the levels in the greater Belfast area remain low.

NI Water said: “We can confirm that all of the reservoirs in question are no longer required for future use, due to a rationalisation of water supply to the north Down area.

“This arose out of significant investment in a new water treatment works for the Silent Valley and associated trunk mains, which improved both the quality and security of water supplied.”

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