Northern Ireland Water chief executive, Sarah Venning, has warned that latest proposed budget cuts could result in more water supply interruptions for the company’s domestic and commercial customers.
Venning's warning came during an interview with a local BBC radio station when she pointed out that the company had reduced running costs by £65 million over the last 10 years.
All departments in the province are facing a difficult financial position as there is no functioning government at present to decide spending priorities or allocate a budget.
The province had been governed by power-sharing executive. But this broke down 13 months ago. The latest attempt to establish a working political administration has just failed.
Late last year the Province’s Department of Finance announced proposed cuts in the budgets of all NI department, including the DfI. For NI Water these latest reductions translate into £22 million less funding up to 2022.
NI Water has stressed that its priority is to protect water quality so disruptions are “more likely to be on drainage and the removal of wastewater” according to a spokesperson.
The spokesperson added: “However, to achieve the scale of the cuts required, customers may face more water supply interruptions as NI Water would have to cease out of hours cover in the evenings and at weekends for repair of bursts.“
NI Water is the only publicly funded regulated utility in the UK. It is funded by the NI Department for Infrastructure.