Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Northern Ireland Water to face minister over supply fiasco

Laurence MacKenzie, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Water at NI Water Westland House
Laurence MacKenzie, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Water at NI Water Westland House
Laurence MacKenzie, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Water at NI Water Westland House
Belfast Lord Mayor Pat Convery helps out with the delivery of fresh water supplies including bottled water just arrived from Scotland
Belfast Lord Mayor Pat Convery, (centre), oversees delivery of fresh water supplies including bottled water just arrived from Scotland
A woman carries away a pack of bottles of Scottish water
Belfast Lord Mayor Pat Convery helps out with the delivery of fresh water
Under pressure: Laurence MacKenzie, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Water at NI Water Westland House
A Northern Ireland Water employee unloads bottled water supplied by the Scottish government in Belfast
80-year-old Jack Lewis from the Shankill area of Belfast, who just arrived back from holidays to find he has no water, unpacked his suitcaseand packed it with water - Scottish bottled water being delivered to NI Water
Bottled water arrived for distribution at Belfast's Avoniel leisure centre. Sally Patton makes her way through the streets to bring fresh water to those who are unable to leave their homes
Barbra Telford gets her supply of fresh water
Richard McCook from Castlerock Co Londonderry is utilising his resources. Mr McCook has a natural spring on his land and is willing to transport 1000 litres of water anywhere in Northern Ireland for £200
Holmes without water: Eamonn fills his bottle
Retired MLA Mary Neilis from Derry whose tap water stopped on Christmas Eve
Voluntary community worker Robert McCartney collects bottles of Scottish water from Northern Ireland Water's Old West Land Road depot
Northern Ireland water crisis
NI Water's Chief Executive, Lawrence MacKenzie takes questions at their depot on the Old Westland Road in north Belfast
Voluntary community worker Robert McCartney collects bottles of Scottish water from Northern Ireland Water's Old West Land Road depot
12 year old Karl Barr from County Antrim loading his family car with the last few crates of bottled water at NI Water in Ballymena
A Northern Ireland Water employee with bottled water supplied by the Scottish government in Belfast
Lorries from Scotland, carrying 160,000 litres of bottled water, arrive at Larne harbour
Trevor Haslett, Director of Engineering, Padraic White (middle) Interim Chairman and Laurence MacKenzie, Chief Executive Officer (right) all from Northern Ireland Water speak to the media
People wait in line at Avoniel leisure centre in east Belfast with empty bottles to get drinking water December 29, 2010.
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10 Bottles of water are filled up outside Westland House in North Belfast after homes across Belfast run out Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10 Bottles of water are filled up outside Westland House in North Belfast after homes across Belfast run out Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10Kelly and Anne Marie Murphy fill up Bottles of water outside Westland House in North Belfast after homes across Belfast run out Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10 Bowsers are filled up outside Westland House in North Belfast after homes across Belfast run out, They will be brought to 5 sites across Belfast so people can get water Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10 Bowsers are filled up outside Westland House in North Belfast after homes across Belfast run out, They will be brought to 5 sites across Belfast so people can get water Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10 Water storage units have run out at Westland House in North Belfast after homes across Belfast run out Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Tempers flare as families queue for the last few crates of bottled water at NI Water in Ballymena
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28/12/2010Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin KernoghanFamilies queueing for the last few crates of bottled water at NI Water in Ballymena today. NI Water in Ballymena ran out of bottled water after lunchtime today. The thaw is revealing an unprecedented number of burst water pipes.Thousands of homes and businesses in Northern Ireland are still without water on Tuesday.Northern Ireland Water has said it is dealing with interruptions to supplies across a number of areas as a result of the severe weather and ongoing thaw.An unprecedented number of leaks caused by the thaw have been putting "big pressure" on its systems.NI Water is giving out bottled water but there is growing criticism of the company's performance.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28/12/2010Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin KernoghanFamilies queueing for the last few crates of bottled water at NI Water in Ballymena today. NI Water in Ballymena ran out of bottled water after lunchtime today. The thaw is revealing an unprecedented number of burst water pipes.Thousands of homes and businesses in Northern Ireland are still without water on Tuesday.Northern Ireland Water has said it is dealing with interruptions to supplies across a number of areas as a result of the severe weather and ongoing thaw.An unprecedented number of leaks caused by the thaw have been putting "big pressure" on its systems.NI Water is giving out bottled water but there is growing criticism of the company's performance.
©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland 28th December 2010Northern Ireland water office in Portadown are giving away water to residents from the Armagh area who have been without for the last 24 hours..Stephanie Shaw from Armagh collects some water.Picture Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28/12/2010Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin KernoghanFamilies queueing for the last few crates of bottled water at NI Water in Ballymena today. NI Water in Ballymena ran out of bottled water after lunchtime today. The thaw is revealing an unprecedented number of burst water pipes.Thousands of homes and businesses in Northern Ireland are still without water on Tuesday.Northern Ireland Water has said it is dealing with interruptions to supplies across a number of areas as a result of the severe weather and ongoing thaw.An unprecedented number of leaks caused by the thaw have been putting "big pressure" on its systems.NI Water is giving out bottled water but there is growing criticism of the company's performance.
Queueing up for water are these Coleraine residents at Captain Street were a five hundered year old fountain flows whole year round.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28-12-2010Mrs Janet Doran in tears as she talks to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, after raw sewage had flooded through her home on boxing day at Elmwood Terrace, in Lurgan. The residents of the County Armagh housing estate have expressed anger after the sewage had flooded through their homes saying today that still no-one from NI Water had come to the Shankill estate in Lurgan despite repeated requests for help. Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd said the response had "not been good enough" and added that he would be asking "serious questions" of the company. NI Water has said it is doing as much it can to help those affected by the "unprecedented" problems. The problem at the row of houses at Elmwood Terrace was caused by overflowing drains unable to cope with the thawing ice.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28-12-2010Mrs Janet Doran, (left), and Mrs May Maye discuss their problems after sewage had flooded through their home on boxing day at Elmwood Terrace, in Lurgan. The residents of the County Armagh housing estate have expressed anger after the sewage had flooded through their homes saying today that still no-one from NI Water had come to the Shankill estate in Lurgan despite repeated requests for help. Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd said the response had "not been good enough" and added that he would be asking "serious questions" of the company. NI Water has said it is doing as much it can to help those affected by the "unprecedented" problems. The problem at the row of houses at Elmwood Terrace was caused by overflowing drains unable to cope with the thawing ice.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28-12-2010Mrs May Maye's kitchen after raw sewage had flooded through her home on boxing day at Elmwood Terrace, in Lurgan. The residents of the County Armagh housing estate have expressed anger after the sewage had flooded through their homes saying today that still no-one from NI Water had come to the Shankill estate in Lurgan despite repeated requests for help. Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd said the response had "not been good enough" and added that he would be asking "serious questions" of the company. NI Water has said it is doing as much it can to help those affected by the "unprecedented" problems. The problem at the row of houses at Elmwood Terrace was caused by overflowing drains unable to cope with the thawing ice.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28-12-2010Maurice Magill explains the problems residents like Mrs May Maye, are facing to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, after raw sewage had flooded through a terrace of homes on boxing day at Elmwood Terrace, in Lurgan. The residents of the County Armagh housing estate have expressed anger after the sewage had flooded through their homes saying today that still no-one from NI Water had come to the Shankill estate in Lurgan despite repeated requests for help. Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd said the response had "not been good enough" and added that he would be asking "serious questions" of the company. NI Water has said it is doing as much it can to help those affected by the "unprecedented" problems. The problem at the row of houses at Elmwood Terrace was caused by overflowing drains unable to cope with the thawing ice.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28-12-2010Mr Arthur Doran with property destroyed in his home after sewage had flooded through it on boxing day at Elmwood Terrace, in Lurgan. The residents of the County Armagh housing estate have expressed anger after the sewage had flooded through their homes saying today that still no-one from NI Water had come to the Shankill estate in Lurgan despite repeated requests for help. Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd said the response had "not been good enough" and added that he would be asking "serious questions" of the company. NI Water has said it is doing as much it can to help those affected by the "unprecedented" problems. The problem at the row of houses at Elmwood Terrace was caused by overflowing drains unable to cope with the thawing ice.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28-12-2010Mrs Janet Doran breaks down in tears as she talks to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, after raw sewage had flooded through her home on boxing day at Elmwood Terrace, in Lurgan. The residents of the County Armagh housing estate have expressed anger after the sewage had flooded through their homes saying today that still no-one from NI Water had come to the Shankill estate in Lurgan despite repeated requests for help. Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd said the response had "not been good enough" and added that he would be asking "serious questions" of the company. NI Water has said it is doing as much it can to help those affected by the "unprecedented" problems. The problem at the row of houses at Elmwood Terrace was caused by overflowing drains unable to cope with the thawing ice.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 28-12-2010Mr Arthur Doran with property destroyed in his home after sewage had flooded through it on boxing day at Elmwood Terrace, in Lurgan. The residents of the County Armagh housing estate have expressed anger after the sewage had flooded through their homes saying today that still no-one from NI Water had come to the Shankill estate in Lurgan despite repeated requests for help. Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd said the response had "not been good enough" and added that he would be asking "serious questions" of the company. NI Water has said it is doing as much it can to help those affected by the "unprecedented" problems. The problem at the row of houses at Elmwood Terrace was caused by overflowing drains unable to cope with the thawing ice.
Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th December 2010. Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com - Belfast.General views from NI Waters Westland base as members of the public come to pick up bottles of water.
Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th December 2010. Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com - Belfast.General views from NI Waters Westland base as members of the public come to pick up bottles of water.
Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th December 2010. Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com - Belfast.General views from NI Waters Westland base as members of the public come to pick up bottles of water.
Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th December 2010. Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com - Belfast.General views from NI Waters Westland base as members of the public come to pick up bottles of water.
Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th December 2010. Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com - Belfast.General views from NI Waters Westland base as members of the public come to pick up bottles of water.
Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th December 2010. Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com - Belfast.General views from NI Waters Westland base as members of the public come to pick up bottles of water.
Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th December 2010. Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com - Belfast.General views from NI Waters Westland base as members of the public come to pick up bottles of water.
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10 Bottles of water are filled up outside Westland House in North Belfast after homes across Belfast run out Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10 Water storage units have run out at Westland House in North Belfast after homes across Belfast run out Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10Kelly and Anne Marie Murphy fill up Bottles of water outside Westland House in North Belfast after homes across Belfast run out Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10 Tesco's in Yorkgate sells out of water due to the high demand with homes across North Belfast out of water Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/12/10 Tesco's in Yorkgate sells out of water due to the high demand with homes across North Belfast out of water Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The company in charge of Northern Ireland's faltering water supply will meet the minister responsible today with mounting anger at the way it has handled the crisis.

Senior ministers last night said some at Northern Ireland Water should consider their positions as anger increases over the tens of thousands of people left without supplies.

Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy meets the board of the state-owned company today.

"I will be seeking assurances that this will not happen again this winter," he said.

As temperatures plummeted to record lows pipes froze and when the rapid thaw followed after Christmas there was a massive number of bursts.

NIW hopes to have much of Belfast reconnected today but it could be early next week before those in remote areas receive help.

Scotland has already provided bottled water and the Westminster Coalition is prepared to provide extra call centre staff, water tankers and engineers.

Ministers have branded NIW's handling of the crisis as "shambolic" and called for somebody to be held to account.

Last night Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "There has to be accountability and we are not going to under those circumstances stand here and make excuses for a body that has so miserably failed our citizens."

And First Minister Peter Robinson said: "There has to be an accountability for what has taken place and we don't think anybody could suggest NIW have covered themselves with any glory over the past days and people must assess their position."

He added: "We are not satisfied with the performance and are absolutely determined that it will not be repeated.

"It has been shambolic at stages, it has been ineffective, it has not been the kind of organisation that has been fit for purpose."

NIW has pointed to years of underinvestment in the supply network and blamed much of the leakage on private property owners not checking their premises. Millions of extra litres are thought to be gushing out through unidentified leaks.

The Assembly returns next month and that will increase the pressure for resignations, although at this stage NIW chief executive Laurence MacKenzie says he is focused on the job in hand and working hard to co-ordinate the relief effort.



Water info on digital TV

Belfast City Council is using digital television to update residents without internet access on how to obtain water during the current crisis. In addition to a free telephone helpline - 0800 707 6965 - information from the council’s website is being replicated on a digital TV channel, available for Sky and Virgin Media users.

To use the digital television service, Sky users should go to channel 539 and press the red button. Virgin Media users should press the Interactive button, select News & Info and then select Looking Local, Northern Ireland and then Belfast.

For residents with internet access, updates can be found at www.belfastcity.gov.uk, via Facebook at www.facebook.com/belfastcitycouncil and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/belfastcc



Factfile

  • If you suspect a burst water main, contact NI Waterline on 0845 744 0088.
  • Belfast residents can call the council’s emergency helpline on 0800 707 6965.
  • A list of emergency supply points can be found at www.niwater.com.
  • A list of registered plumbers can be found at www.snipef.co.uk.
  • Check online to see if your area is experiencing alternating water supplies resulting in temporary water loss.
  • Bring your own clean, empty containers to water depots and remember to boil water before use.
  • Check on elderly and infirm neighbours who may be unable to travel to emergency water supply points

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