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Water & Sewerage

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

DRAFT SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL GUIDANCE FOR THE WATER AND SEWERAGE INDUSTRY

The Department for Regional Development has launched a public consultation on Draft Social & Environmental Guidance for the water and sewerage industry (2015-21).

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Copies of the draft Guidance are available in electronic form at http://www.drdni.gov.uk/index/publications/publications-details.htm?docid=9310

Alternatively, copies may be obtained by contacting:

Eddie Dobbin

Water Policy Division

Department for Regional Development

Room 1-22

Clarence Court

10-18 Adelaide Street

Belfast BT2 8GB

Tel: (028) 9054 2985

This document is available in a range of formats. Please contact us with your requirements.

Responses to the consultation document should be posted to the above address or emailed to waterpolicy@drdni.gov.uk.  Comments may also be faxed to 028 9054 0547.

Responses are required by Friday 31 January 2014.

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.

THE RURAL BOREWELLS SCHEME 2013

The Rural Borewells Scheme, which provides access to affordable safe drinking water in rural homes that are beyond the reach of the public water network, was launched in June 2012.  In its first year (2012/2013), the Scheme assisted 27 rural properties to obtain a private borewell.

In 2013/2014, it is anticipated that around 50 households will be assisted under the Rural Borewells Scheme.  Up to £12,000 is available per project towards the overall cost of geological surveys, water testing, borewells installation and water treatment with applications sought from owners and landlords of domestic rural properties.

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.

The Scheme meets with DRD’s policy objective of providing financial assistance via a Reasonable Cost Allowance and provides a maximum of £12,000 to help householders obtain a wholesome water supply.  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 2013/14 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 ruralborewells@dardni.gov.uk .

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

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

"Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 - The Preservation of Services and Civil Emergency Measures (Relevant Undertaker) (Northern Ireland) Direction 2010"

The Preservation of Services and Civil Emergency Measures (Relevant Undertaker) (Northern Ireland) Direction 2010 came in to operation on 02 August 2010 when it was sealed by the official seal of the Department for Regional Development. The Direction was made to lay out requirements and facilitate DRD to give Guidance for the Northern Ireland water industry to make plans and provision for mitigating the events of a civil emergency and to preserve services.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department for Regional Development and the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation

This document is an agreement between the Department for Regional Development (DRD) and the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR) covering the work of the regulation of Northern Ireland Water. NIAUR is an independent non-ministerial government department responsible for economic regulation of the water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) betweeen the Department for Regional Development and the Department of the Environment

This document is an agreement between the Department for Regional Development (DRD) and the Department of the Environment (DOE) covering the work of the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). DWI is part of DOE but works on behalf of DRD regulating the quality and safety of public water supplies provided by Northern Ireland Water.

The Water Supply (Water Quality) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010

The Water Supply (Water Quality) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 came into operation on 20 April 2010. The Regulations amend the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 in order to meet Drinking Water Directive requirements. The Amendment Regulations and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum and Transposition Note can be found via the links below.

The Water Supply (Domestic Distribution Systems) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010

The Water Supply (Domestic Distribution Systems) Regulations(Northern Ireland) 2010 came into operation on 20 April 2010. The Regulations are made jointly with the Department of the Environment and satisfy the Drinking Water Directive requirement of dealing with water quality failures which are attributable to the domestic distribution system in premises where water is supplied to the public. The Regulations and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum and Transposition Note can be found via the links below.

Social & Environmental Guidance for Water and Sewerage Services (2010-13)

Social and Environmental Guidance for Water and Sewerage Services (2010-13) was laid before the Assembly on 21 April 2010 under Article 7 of the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.

This Guidance sets out how Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy expects the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation to contribute to key areas of social and environmental policy in its regulation of water and sewerage services provided by Northern Ireland Water.

Copies of the Final Guidance, Draft Guidance and Consultation Report can be downloaded from the links below, or can be obtained by contacting the Department at waterpolicy@drdni.gov.uk.

Water Stakeholders Partnership Agreement

The statutory bodies involved in the governance of the water industry – the Utility Regulator, the Consumer Council, NIW, DRD, the Drinking Water Inspectorate and the NI Environment Agency established a Water Stakeholders’ Steering Group in October 2008.  This group, consisting of a senior representative from each organisation, provides a forum for high-level oversight of future water and sewerage investment priorities and discussion of major cross cutting issues.  A Partnership Agreement was endorsed at the first meeting of the Steering Group.

Minister Welcomes the Publication of the Report on Strand 2 of the Review of Water and Sewerage Services

Conor Murphy MP MLA welcomed the publication of the Report on Strand 2 of the Independent Review of water and sewerage services. The full text of the statement can be accessed by clicking on the following link

Review of Water and Sewerage Services: Strand 2 Report

The Independent Water Review Panel (IWRP), led by Paddy Hilliard, published it's second and final report on 28 January 2008. The Report contained over 40 recommendations dealing with management, governance and delivery of water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland.

The full text of the report can be accessed by clicking on the following link:

Background

The current framework for the utility is set out in the Water and Sewerage (NI) Order 2006 which provides for an "undertaker" to run water and sewerage services. A company - Northern Ireland Water - was appointed as sole water and sewerage undertaker for Northern Ireland. The company is 100% owned by the Government (through DRD). It took over from the Department's Water Service Agency from 1 April 2007. The land, assets and staff of the Water Service Agency transferred to the company on 1 April.

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Review of Water & Sewerage Services

On 10 May 2007 the Northern Ireland Executive confirmed that proposed new annual charges for water and sewerage would not be imposed in 2007-08 and that they would establish a comprehensive review to address the longer term approach that should be adopted in relation to financing water and sewerage services.

Under the terms of reference announced by the Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy MLA, to the Assembly on 11 June 2007, the review had two strands. The first strand focused on the cost of water and sewerage services and how these will be funded and the second strand concentrated on the wider aspects of the management and governance arrangements for water and sewerage services.

The Independent Water Review Panel (IWRP), led by Professor Paddy Hillyard, published its Strand 1 Report on 12 October. The Report contained over 30 recommendations on the fundamental issues of financing water and sewerage services and the level of funding required.

A copy of the Strand 1 Report as well as the press releases issued by the Department of Regional Development and the Independent Water Review Panel are listed below.

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