Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation

Water & Sewerage

Welcome to the Water Policy Division of the Department for Regional Development.

Water Fittings Relaxation Request

Northern Ireland Water has applied for the following Relaxation of the item described in the attached link under Regulation 10 of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009.

It is the intention of the Department for Regional Development to grant this relaxation following a period of 30 days from this date 13 November 2014.

Proposals for New Water Legislation

The Department for Regional Development launched a public consultation in June 2014 on The Proposals for New Water Legislation. This consultation closed in August 2014.

The consultation document set out a number of options covering the funding of NI Water, governance arrangements and environmental matters. This report records the public consultation findings which will help shape the final Water Bill. It describes how consultation on the policy proposals were undertaken, summarises the responses received and details how they have influenced the final policy.

Copies of the Final Consultation document are available at:

Draft Long Term Water Strategy for Northern Ireland (2014-2039)

The Depeartment for Regional Development launched a 16 week public consultation in June 2014 on a draft Long Term Water and Strategy for Northern Ireland (2014-2039). the document sought the views of the public on the proposed actions nd way forward. These views will help to inform the development of the final Strategy.

The Draft Strategy has 4 key strategic aims;

  • to provide high quality sustainable supplies of drinking water to households, industry and agriculture;
  • to manage flood risk and drainage in a sustainable manner,
  • to achieve the environmental requirements of the Water Framework Directive in a sustainable manner; and
  • to provide sustainable water and sewerage services that meet customers' needs

The document sought the views of the public on the proposed actions and way forward. These views will help to inform the development of the final Strategy.

Although the public consultation has now closed, copies of the chapters of the draft Long Term Water Strategy are available in electronic form at:-

The final Strategy will be published in the summer of 2015 subject to approval by the Minister for Regional Development and the Northern Ireland Executive.

A Strategy Implementation Action Plan will then be prepared containing actions aimed at delivering the high level proposed measures in the Strategy. Actions will be a mix of short, medium and long term to cover the Strategy's 25 year outlook.



The Department for Regional Development launched a public consultation in November 2013 on Draft Social & Environmental Guidance for the water and sewerage industry (2015-21). This consultation closed in January 2014.

The Guidance sets out the key social and environmental policies that the Regional Development Minister expects the Utility Regulator for Northern Ireland to contribute to in its regulation of water and sewerage services. These policies will help determine Northern Ireland Water’s investment priorities for the 2015 - 2021 period.

Copies of the Guidance are available in electronic form at:

A consultation report has been produced summarising the consultation replies and the Departmental response. This is available via the link below:

Copies of the consultation returns can also be viewed on the Consultation Responses page.


The aim of the Rural Borewells Scheme is to provide access to affordable safe drinking water in rural homes that are beyond the reach of the public water network.  The scheme offer up to £12,000 per property to meet the needs of existing domestic properties that on a long standing basis have been unable to access a wholesome water supply.

DARD opened calls for applications to the Rural Borewells Scheme in June 2012 and in April 2013 with 64 wells drilled to date. A further call for applications closed on 30 May 2014 with 53 applications received.

The Department for Regional Development (DRD) developed this innovative scheme in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and it is an excellent example of what can be achieved through government departments working together to achieve a common goal.

DARD administers the Scheme on a day-to-day basis as one of a range of initiatives included in its’ ‘Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework’.  

The 2014/15 Scheme has closed for application.  However, it will be reviewed at the end of the year to assess future demand.  Anyone who does not have a direct water supply to their home is encouraged to make themselves known to officials at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to assist in the assessment of future demand.  DARD officials can be contacted on 028 82 253512 or email .

Details of the Scheme can be viewed on the DARD website.

Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2013.

The Water & Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill (Northern Ireland) passed through the Assembly and received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013.  

The Act extends NI Water’s subsidy period to 31 March 2016 and also provides for the registration of statutory charges in respect of certain works on private land.  The full act can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

Revised Water Stakeholders Partnership Agreement

The Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy MLA, has welcomed the publication of the revised Water Stakeholders Partnership Agreement (first published in October 2008) which was recently endorsed by the statutory bodies involved in the governance of the water industry.   The Partnership Agreement sets out structures for co-operation and principles for working together for key stakeholders – the Utility Regulator, the Consumer Council, NIW, DRD, the Drinking Water Inspectorate and the NI Environment Agency - to achieve the common objective of 'Getting water and sewerage services right for today’s and tomorrow’s consumers and taxpayers through good governance that achieves the right balance of efficiency, fairness, affordability, sustainability, value for money and quality.’

Review of Financial Assistance for Domestic Properties not Served by a Water Main

In November 2010, the Department for Regional Development published a consultation on proposals to review the provision of financial assistance for domestic properties not served by a water main.  The consultation ended on 4 February 2011 and the Department received approximately 50 responses.  In addition, officials held public meetings in three locations to gauge the reaction of the people in some of the areas that are not served by water mains.  A report summarising respondents’ views and the Department's proposals on improving financial assistance for householders to obtain a wholesome water supply can be obtained by clicking the following link