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Pumping £2.5 billion into the local economy

05 June 2017 14:30

Recent analysis by Ulster University Business School indicates that NI Water is benefiting the local economy to the tune of £440 million per year.  Over a six year period to 2021, it is estimated that NI Water will add a staggering £2.5 billion to the local economy, positioning NI Water as a major contributor to Northern Ireland’s Gross Value Added (GVA)[1]

The Ulster University Business School estimates that for every £1 invested by NI Water, the knock-on effect in the local economy is almost double.  Dr Mark Bailey, Senior Lecturer in Economics within Ulster University Business School, who undertook the analysis, explains:

“All expenditure by organisations (be it on capital projects, day to day operations or staff) produces a “local economic multiplier effect” – which is the creation of local employment opportunities and the retaining of investment within the local and regional economy.

“In the case of NI Water investment, the ripples don’t just reach their own employees and suppliers. They are felt by a wide range of other businesses from agri-food production, to new house construction, to tourism development.”

CEO of NI Water, Sara Venning, comments:

“The report is of significant interest to our business community and enables us to position NI Water as one of the leading companies in Northern Ireland, not simply in terms of turnover but also in terms of our impact and influence on the local economy.

“NI Water has delivered over £2 billion of investment over the last ten years, provided record levels of service to customers and reduced its day to day running costs by £65m[2]. This has enabled the company to close the efficiency gap with top performing water companies in England and Wales from 50% to below 13%.

“Our services are essential for a modern regional economy and we are committed to working with government to secure the necessary medium term funding to underpin our delivery of investment in better services for all our customers”.

This year, 2017, marks a decade of delivery for NI Water.  Today, the company is one of the most successful examples of a government organisation achieving private sector levels of performance and efficiency. 

Ms Venning comments on the way forward for NI Water:


“At the end of our ten years and going into the next ten, it is a good time to reflect on the ownership of NI Water.  Whatever the governance model, in simple terms, we are here to serve consumers now and in the future.  As a company, we are guardians of the networks and assets, but every one of us uses the service.  Only together, as a company and a community, can we continue to safeguard the environment and protect our most valuable and precious asset – water.”


“The £2.5 billion ripple effect”

Ripple Effect Infographic

To provide a sense of scale, NI Water provides 560million litres of fresh drinking water and takes away 330 million litres of wastewater, which it treats before returning to the environment.  Thousands of assets, at a value approaching £3 billion, are operated and maintained to provide these services.  This includes over 40,000 kilometres of water mains and sewers - one and half times longer than Northern Ireland’s entire road network.

All media enquiries to NI Water press office at

[1] Gross Value Added is an economic indicator which measures the value of goods and services produced.

[2] Since 2009/10.

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