Lyttle and Cochrane call for urgency to reconnect those without water

Alliance East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle and Castlereagh Councillor Judith Cochrane have called for urgent action to be taken to reconnect those homes that have been without water for a number of days. They along with East Belfast MP Naomi Long have been out helping people in East Belfast that have no running water.

Chris Lyttle MLA said: “The past month has seen exceptional weather conditions for Northern Ireland, with big frosts and a rapid increase in temperatures. But the consequences of these extreme weather conditions were foreseeable and should have been prepared for by those in charge. It is clear that the emergency strategies that have been put into place have been lacking in terms of both logistics and communication. The inability to update customers with information about what was happening has been wholly inadequate. Their website should have more information about where exactly there is problems rather than just general postcode areas. We also need to see more accurate information about when people can expect to have their water supply back on permanently.

“There are urgent questions as to why these plans were so ineffective and have resulted in such a large number of homes being without water and little information being communicated to the public about how the problems would be resolved.

“There must be an urgent review of what happened and what went wrong. But the real urgency is to get homes and businesses reconnected. This is not to deny the hard efforts of those in the NI Water call centre or out fixing pipes who have all done a magnificent job

“These problems do however further open the debate as to how water services are funded especially given the low level of investment in our water infrastructure. Most of these pipes are of 19th century origin and needs urgently updated.

Cllr Judith Cochrane said: “I have seen first hand the impact that this crisis has had on the vulnerable in our society. I have received many calls from residents who have been given very little information about when their water supply is going to be reconnected. Those that are able to get water from collection points have not been affected as much as those who are house bound or unable to fetch water in bulky and heavy containers.

“Those in charge of NI Water must review their positions following their chaotic response. However, careful consideration must also be given to the introduction of water rates, provided that they are fair and affordable and that the revenue raised is ring fenced for water and sewerage investment rather than dispersed throughout the different Departments. If we do not invest then we will continue to have people subjected to poor supply and flooding.”


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