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NI Water Statement on Mourne Gorse Fires

04 May 2011 9:35

The Mournes is a designated Special Area of Conservation and a very important part of the drinking water catchment area for Northern Ireland’s water supply.

NI Water has issued an appeal to the public today for their help in protecting the Mournes which is currently under threat from the ongoing fires in the area. The water company is asking the public to avoid walking in the Mournes until the area experiences some rain and conditions are not so dry. This is in the interests of public safety and also to minimise the risk of further fires. If the public see someone acting suspiciously or starting fires, they should contact the PSNI.

Water from the Mournes runs into Ben Crom and Silent Valley Reservoirs and is transported from there to water treatment works where it is treated to drinking water quality standards.

Dymphna Gallagher, Head of Quality and Compliance with NI Water explained further:

“NI Water works closely with the Mourne Heritage Trust to improve the condition and biodiversity of the Mournes. It is unfortunate that these fires are ruining the beautiful scenery and the quality of raw water flowing into the Silent Valley Reservoir. Years of work building up this area have been destroyed in a few short days. It will take a long time and a great deal of work and commitment from those involved in preserving the Mournes to return it to the condition it was in.

“While the Mournes is a designated Special Area of Conservation, it is also an open space free for everyone to enjoy. These fires will have a major impact on the area and everyone who enjoys it. However, NI Water is committed to continuing its work to ensure quality water is received into the Silent Valley Reservoir. The public can also be assured that the water they receive from their taps is and will remain of the highest quality.”

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