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NI Water Battling With Coldest Winter in 30 Years

14 January 2010 7:58

Over 350 NI Water staff are dealing with interruptions to water supplies across the province as a result of the on-going extraordinary weather conditions.

From 24 December to 12 January, NI Water received over 42,000 calls to Waterline. Although not all calls were related to no water complaints. Call volumes were up to 3 times the average normally experienced at this time of year. During this period of time, NI Water has located and repaired over 580 burst watermains. Repairs have also been carried out on 270 service pipes, which connect the public to the watermain, with a further 350 leaking private supplies being isolated. Extra water has been tankered to maintain supplies from depleted service reservoirs and up until the 30 December, approximately 140,000 litres of bottled water has been provided to affected customers.

NI Water would like to thank the thousands of customers who have shown support and patience to staff who are working around the clock to locate, isolate and repair bursts.

There are a number of areas where the public can continue to support the organisation in its vital search and repair operation.

Charlie Gallagher, Head of Water Supplies with NI Water explains:

“We have had a great response from the public in terms of alerting us to burst pipes and leaks in vacant properties. We would appeal to the public to continue to assist us by phoning our Waterline number on 08457 440088 to report any leaks.

“We would also ask that customers DO NOT run their taps unnecessarily. A running tap can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water per day putting even more pressure on the water supply. Where possible, we would also call on customers to use their water supply wisely.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience while we work to restore supplies.”

NI Water’s tips to customers for avoiding frozen pipes include:

1. Insulate water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like lofts, roof spaces, garages and outbuildings;

2. Fix dripping taps – a gentle trickle of water can freeze and completely block the pipe;

3. Keep your boiler well serviced to ensure your house is heated;

4. If you are on holiday during the winter period, open the trap door into the roof space to allow some of the warm air to circulate in the roof space;

5. If you are away from home you could leave a key with a neighbour, friend or family member who can check the house regularly for frozen pipes and to ensure there is adequate heat;

6. Know where your stop valve is in the case of an emergency - it is normally situated under the kitchen sink;

7. Write down the name and contact details of a SNIPEF (Scotland & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation) registered plumber in case a pipe does burst.

8. Customers who are more vulnerable are eligible to be placed on our Priority Services Register allowing NI Water to be aware of where they live and their special needs. To sign up to NI Water’s Priority Service Register phone Waterline on 08457 440088 or visit our website

NI Water’s ‘Winter Warmer’ video can be viewed on our Youtube channel

Notes to editor:

Call volumes to Waterline from 24 December 09 until 12 January 10 were 42,102. Last year, during the same period, only 13,351 were received.

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