not the time for knee jerk reactions as NI water crisis affects us all

UK citizens left in queues for basic needs of water in Northern Ireland.

The news from Northern Ireland does not seem good at present.

As NI Water continues to update us on how they are battling the water shortage in Northern Ireland, vandals have attacked emergency supplies in Coalisland, County Tyrone.

Vandals have opened valves on bowsers in County Tyrone and emptied out nearly 5,000 gallons (22,730 litres) of water.

from BBC News NI

And were the demands on water not high enough, others set fire to vehicles in Lisburn. Which means that more water is required to put out the fire by the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service. Of course, it was not just in Lisburn that there were fires last night – in the early hours of the New Year, as Andrew and I walked home from the party at Conor‘s, I smelt burning. Burning coming from the rear of a property on the Holywood Road in Belfast. Now being the good Scout that I am, I set off to see what was burning. Initially it smelt like wood, but then it became clear that it was a large wheelie bin on fire up against the back of the property. It seemed to be quite close to a refrigeration unit, so I called the Fire Service.

We remained near to the site until the firemen arrived. On our way home we saw many more from the emergency services: it was obviously a busy night. I hope that tonight there will be no further actions from vandals and arsonists that put at risk the health of others in Northern Ireland.

In the coming weeks and months the Northern Ireland Executive will have to see what can be done to sort out the historical underinvestment in the water service in Northern Ireland, but at the moment the concentration ought to be on getting everyone reconnected to the mains as quickly as is humanly possible. The time for knee-jerk reactions is not now.

One thought on “not the time for knee jerk reactions as NI water crisis affects us all

  1. Leaving aside the specific issues you raise – I – as a resident of England – am uncertain as to whether or not the Northern Ireland water authority deserves all the flak it has been getting in the media.

    Is there any feel for what proportion of the burst pipe incidents relate to bursts on the customer’s side of the main stopcock as opposed to the water authority’s side?

    If my property incurred a burst on my side of the main stopcock it would be entrely my problem and not the water company’s.

    Assuming the situation is the same in Northern Ireland and assuming a significant proportion of the bursts are not the responsibility of the water authority – it seems that a very great many residents and businesses might have been negligent in either not turning the supply off before going away and/or not knowing where to turn it off or isolate the problem part of the building if fitted with more than one customer stopcock and/or not leaving the heating on low if going away.

    I forsee Northern Ireland residents ‘looking forward’ to increaed property insurance premiums at next renewal.

    There’s a FAQ at http://www.niwater.com/faq.asp

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