Huge budget constraints have left wastewater issues unaddressed in Northern Ireland, company warns

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A WATER company has warned that the appointed government funding for wastewater infrastructure is not enough to address all the issues in Northern Ireland.

NI Water attended Mid Ulster Council on Monday 16th December to update representatives on strategic plans going forward and the funding needed for the Borough Council area.

By 2030, it is anticipated that Mid Ulster Council will need nearly 11,000 new homes, will want to attract over eight thousand new jobs and have sustainable economic growth.

The main towns of Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt have been identified as a focus for population and economic growth.

This is to promote sustainable development and to support the efficient use of public services, facilities and infrastructure.

However, NI Water states it can only spend within its Annual Public Expenditure budget and plans for water and wastewater can only happen if they are funded.

Steve Blockwell, Head of Investment at NI Water, said: “Since the presentation was given to Mid Ulster Council, I would like to welcome the New Decade, New Approach Deal and the Executive’s commitment to invest urgently in wastewater infrastructure which is at or nearing capacity in many places across Northern Ireland, including Belfast.

“Providing safe, clean, drinking water supplied to houses and business is always the top priority for NI Water.

“While we have been able to maintain safe clean drinking water, the huge constraints on our capital budget has meant that Wastewater issues have largely been left unaddressed as highlighted in our PC15 Business Plan; our PC21 business planning process has identified ninety-nine areas where new housing and businesses may be unable to get connected to our sewerage system throughout the province.

“The funding made available in PC15 (2015 to 2021) by NI Government to date for water and wastewater infrastructure is not keeping pace with what Northern Ireland needs.

“Significant investment is needed for wastewater and water infrastructure.

“NI Water knows Northern Ireland’s growth ambitions, we know what needs done and we have the plan and the skills to deliver it. However, if funding continues at current levels there will be significant constraints on economic growth, damage to the environment and risk to people’s health.”