Anna Lo MLA said: “The crisis which left tens of thousands of homes without water in recent times demonstrates the need for responsible leadership in Northern Ireland . What people had to put up with was absolutely appalling, as was the lack of forward planning by the authorities.
“Northern Ireland needed a pro-active and comprehensive strategy to be in place, a quick response and the best possible communication with the public. There also needed to be more joined-up thinking and a co-ordinated emergency plan between relevant government departments. In all of these areas, I believe there was real failure and massive lessons have to be learned.
“The staggering revelation that UK Water, the one body which can help areas with severe water supply problems, was not contacted by the relevant authority until days after the worst of the crisis has passed underlines the chaos at the heart of both the Department of Regional Development and NI Water.
“This abject failure is baffling, bizarre and deeply worrying because if no-one had the vision to call UK Water ahead of this crisis, they should be considering whether they can actually do their job.
“All the warning signs were there that this would be one of the most difficult times on record, regarding our water supply, given we were experiencing the most snow seen here in 25 years. Those who are supposed to have the experience and skills to deliver water to all our homes should have seen this coming and that’s the bottom line. Surely Minister Conor Murphy could not have been so absorbed in the pavement-gritting responsibility fiasco that he did not see this coming when the big thaw came?”