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Water & Sewerage

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

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

The Department 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). This consultation closed in October 2014.

The consultation document sought the views of the public on the proposed actions and way forward. This report records the public consultation findings and details how consultation on the Strategy was undertaken, summarises the responses received and indicates how they will inform policy decisions.

Copies of the Consultation Report are available 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.

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

The Department 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 and 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

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

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:

SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL GUIDANCE FOR THE WATER AND SEWERAGE INDUSTRY

SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL GUIDANCE FOR THE WATER AND SEWERAGE INDUSTRY

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 RURAL BOREWELLS SCHEME

After three years, the Rural Borewells Scheme closed on 31 March 2015.  The Scheme which opened in June 2012 was a partnership between the Department for Regional Development and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.  

The Scheme provided up to £12,000 towards the cost of a private borewell for rural households to obtain a wholesome water supply where it was not technically or financially feasible to access the public water mains.

The Rural Borewells Scheme produced benefits for applicants, for the taxpayer and for the Government.

During the three years of the Scheme, 80 householders who could not access the public main gained a wholesome water supply for the first time.  These householders now have the assurance of a high quality water supply that is safe to drink.  The average cost of providing these properties with mains water was £94,000.  This would have required individual applicants to contribute £82,000 for a mains supply.

The 2014/15 Rural Borewells Scheme had a budget of £312,000.  If the taxpayer footed the bill for these properties to access the mains, NI Water estimate that it would have cost £2,132,000.

The Scheme also provided new geological information which could assist in identifying where best to abstract water from the environment and natural sources of contamination of water supplies.

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

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