Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Sunday ‘disrupted’ as 500 homes cut off

South Belfast was plunged back into water chaos again last weekend as 500 homes went almost a whole day without water.

On Sunday, residents in the Cairnshill area were left without water from 3pm to 11pm.

NI Water, who came under fire for their handling of the water crisis over Christmas, moved to blame a “private contractor” for the latest incident.

Residents were once again forced to buy bottled water from shops due to a burst water main on the Lower Saintfield Road.

This comes just one month after residents in the south of the city had to queue for running water and showers.

Local resident Andrew Charles said Sunday’s incident created “significant disruption” for residents.

“When I phoned NI Water, there was 10 minutes’ waiting time,” he said.

“They informed me what had happened and said they hoped the water would be back on by 6pm.

“When that time came it wasn’t and they then said it would be approximately midnight before it was switched on again.

“It created significant disruption, being a Sunday, being a family day when people are having dinner and that.

“If it was a day during the week or a Saturday night,it would have been less significant.

“Only a matter of weeks ago, the water was off in south Belfast so this was another annoyance, given the significant inconvenience over the Christmas holidays.

“It was a case of ‘not again’ and it was incredibly frustrating.

“I just wonder why NI Water didn’t carry out their repairs overnight when people were in bed and there would be less disruption to people’s lives. “

A spokeswoman for NI Water said: “NI Water can confirm that a private contractor, not working on our behalf, hit and burst a water main on the lower Saintfield Road on Sunday, January 30.

“NI Water was made aware of this incident around 3.30pm and mobilised their repair crews to attend the site.

“The burst was repaired and water was turned back on at approximately 6.30pm, however, it was then discovered that the same contractor had actually damaged the main at a second location which resulted in further repairs having to be carried out on site.

“Repair work was fully completed and water was turned back on at approximately 10.15pm, given the short delay in re-charging the system all properties were back on supply by 11pm.”

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