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Water for 2,000 homes down the drain – in just one day!

29 May 2012 14:06

Water for 2,000 homes down the drain
Fire hydrant abuse in parts of Belfast has resulted in hundreds of homes and businesses suffering disruption to their water supplies. With soaring temperatures upwards of 50 hydrants have been vandalised resulting in an estimated three quarters of a million litres of water running to waste each day.

NI Water staff have been working around the clock to close hydrants but unfortunately in many instances they have been subjected to threats and abuse which has hindered their efforts.

Hydrant abuse has resulted in the equivalent of the supply to 2,000 homes being lost per day. This is a staggering waste that significantly impacts on NI Water’s ability to maintain flows and pressures to homes as well as industry including our local hospitals and vulnerable customers.

The Waterline number received nearly 200 calls over the last few days from members of the public affected by no water or loss of water pressure because of the mindless waste of water in their community. Teams of staff had to attend over 50 sites to close hydrants, often requiring support from PSNI or community representatives. The cost to NI Water and ultimately the taxpayer will run into thousands of pounds if this continues through the summer.

While those responsible may believe their actions are harmless, the real impact could result in loss of life if a fire broke out and a hydrant was unusable due to vandalism or poor water pressure.

Ronnie Glendinning, Area Field Manager from NI Water stresses the seriousness of this activity:

“Opening fire hydrants is not only extremely dangerous for the people living in the area if a fire was to break out, but also a huge inconvenience to those whose water supply is affected as a result. Why should the whole community suffer, particularly our most vulnerable customers, because of the selfish actions of a few?

“Unfortunately, this activity is a particular problem in the Belfast area when there is good weather.

“On behalf of NI Water, I would appeal to everyone to consider who they are putting at risk; it could even be their own family and friends.”

As a result of these mindless acts of vandalism, communities could be left without water. NI Water is asking communities to say “No” to this anti-social behaviour and report vandalism to the PSNI or to Waterline on 08457 440088.

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