11,000 new homes in Mid Ulster in next 10 years

But NI Water warns council that 2030 prediction will need significant infrastructure planning and budget

Declan Magee

Reporter:

Declan Magee

 11,000 new homes in Mid Ulster in next 10 years

A map presented to Mid Ulster District Council outlining the mounting pressure on existing waste water facilities.

NI Water says it needs to plan infrastructure to meet the demands of almost 11,000 new homes in the Mid Ulster Council area in the next ten years.

The utility has updated council representatives on its strategic plans and the funding needed for the council area.

As well as new homes the area will want to attract over 8,000 new jobs and have sustainable economic growth, NI Water said.

Following the meeting with representatives the utility said the main towns of Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt have been identified as a focus for population and economic growth to promote sustainable development and to support the efficient use of public services, facilities and infrastructure.

But NI Water has warned that it can only spend within its annual public expenditure budget and plans for water and wastewater can only happen if they are funded.

Steve Blockwell, Head of Investment at NI Water said:“Since the presentation was given to Mid Ulster Council, I would like to welcome the New Decade, New Approach Deal and the Executive’s commitment to invest urgently in wastewater infrastructure which is at or nearing capacity in many places across Northern Ireland, including Belfast.

“Providing safe, clean, drinking water supplied to houses and business is always the top priority for NI Water. While we have been able to maintain safe clean drinking water, the huge constraints on our capital budget has meant that Wastewater issues have largely been left unaddressed as highlighted in our PC15 Business Plan; our PC21 business planning process has identified ninety-nine areas where new housing and businesses may be unable to get connected to our sewerage system throughout the province.”

“The funding made available in PC15 (2015 to 2021) by NI Government to date for water and wastewater infrastructure is not keeping pace with what Northern Ireland needs.

“Significant investment is needed for wastewater and water infrastructure. NI Water knows Northern Ireland’s growth ambitions, we know what needs done and we have the plan and the skills to deliver it. However, if funding continues at current levels there will be significant constraints on economic growth, damage to the environment and risk to people’s health.”