Alliance Deputy Leader Naomi Long MP and her East Belfast colleague Cllr Judith Cochrane have this morning held a meeting with the interim Chief of NI Water. They discussed ways of improving communication and the need for more long-term budgeting to enable coherent planning on improving water infrastructure.
East Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long said: “We had a very useful meeting with NI Water and raised a number of the failings, particularly in terms of communication with the public, which emerged at the time of the water crisis. The need for mapping on the NI Water website to help provide more clarity for customers during rotation of supplies is one area which we raised with NI Water during the crisis, and I was pleased that this is being actively pursued. Had mapping been accessible on their website, many people would have been able to adequately plan for what happened.
Cllr Judith Cochrane said: “The longer-term issue of managing investment in the network was also discussed.
“NI Water needs to have more flexibility over their budget management and a move to a more effective three or five year financial cycle would allow better targeting of available resources.”
Naomi Long MP concluded: “In the short-term we need to ensure that a crisis of this nature would be more effectively handed if it were to recur, and communication is a large party of that: however, in the medium to long-term, we also need to ensure that NI Water has the budget control and long-term planning ability to allow the maximum benefit to be derived from investment made. Alliance will continue to press for positive and constructive change address the current deficiencies.”