Belfast Telegraph

NI Water: Situation 'improving' as 6,500 without water as dispute talks resume

NI Water reports an improving situation in relation to the interruption to water supply customers

By Claire Williamson

NI Water have said the situation in which around 6,500 homes and businesses have been left without water is improving

It comes as talks aimed at resolving an ongoing industrial dispute at NI Water get underway.

On Monday afternoon the company said that since midnight they had received 200 no water calls.

In a statement NI Water said: "All Water Treatment Works have been brought back into service, however it may take time for the system to recharge and customer supplies to be restored to normal.

"Airlocks may also cause some difficulties in the system this will impact on restoration times in a small number of cases.

NI Water has received approximately 200 no water calls since midnight.  

Areas that may be affected include:

West Tyrone/Fermanagh - Ederney, Kesh, Lack, Castlederg, Killen, Killeter, Spamount, Irvinestown, Dromore (Tyrone), Drumquin, Omagh (rural) and Trillick,

Omagh - Greencastle, Mountfield, Sixmilecross, Carrickmore, Glenhull, Loughmacrory, Rousky, Beragh, Garvaghy, Eskragh and Seskinore,

Londonderry - Claudy, Dungiven, Feeny, Gortnahey, Park.

It continued: "NI Water fully recognises this is a frustrating experience for our customers, and can assure them we are doing everything possible to restore water supplies. NI Water would like to once again thank our customers for their continued patience whilst this problem is being resolved.

"We appeal to customers to use water wisely and help conserve the remaining water supplies."

It added: "NI Water fully recognises this is a frustrating experience for our customers, and can assure them we are doing everything possible to restore water supplies. NI Water would like to once again thank our customers for their continued patience whilst this problem is being resolved.

"We appeal to customers to use water wisely and help conserve the remaining water supplies."

At the weekend people were forced to ferry water from a river in the freezing darkness due to strike action by NI Water workers.

At one stage up to 2,500 properties in three counties were without supplies as the pension dispute rumbled on.

One woman complained that she couldn't heat her home as temperatures were forecast to plunge as low as -6C in some parts of Northern Ireland last night.

Other customers told how they had to melt snow and carry buckets of water from rivers in what they branded a "third world" situation.

And in Omagh the Red Cross was drafted in to hand out emergency water supplies.

The problems were sparked by changes to NI Water pensions as part of a wider programme of public sector pension reform.

Unions claim the government-owned company's attempts to scrap the current pension scheme will cost many members up to £100 a month.

As a result more than 1,000 employees are on a work-to-rule protest, with on-call and emergency services withdrawn. Instead staff will only work between 8am and 4pm during the week, with no cover for water treatment works or distribution works outside these hours.

Northern Ireland Water and union representatives are due to met later today.

The talks are expected to focus on at third offer made by the company however unions have said they believe it does not address the core issues.

The company have said they hope to have the water services restored by this afternoon.

The weekend before, 10,000 homes were cut off from water supplies.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has said efforts to end the current industrial dispute must be intensified. 

Ms Gildernew said: “Up to 10,000 customers in Fermanagh and Tyrone experienced cuts to their water supply in the past week.

“More than a thousand homes have been left without a water supply in Tyrone this weekend.

“Access to water is one of the most basic human needs.

“The disruption to water services and the hardship caused to the families affected is being compounded by the current harsh weather. 

“I am urging NI Water, the Regional Development minister Danny Kennedy and the unions to redouble their efforts to find an early resolution to this dispute so that no family is left without access to water.”

If you require help or want to find out if your area is affected visit the NI Water major incident helpline website or call the contact centre on 08457 440088.

Further reading

Water crisis worsens as families forced to use rivers and melt snow in Northern Ireland 

 

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