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24/11/2021

Water Infrastructure Plans Outlined For Omagh And Fermanagh

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Plans for the future of water infrastructure in the Fermanagh & Omagh District Council area have been outlined during a recent virtual meeting.

NI Water issued an update to the Council on its PC21 Final Determination and investment planned to match projects in the area.

In its future growth plans, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council has anticipated that by 2030, it will need over 4,300 new housing units. Large towns such as Enniskillen and Omagh will be the main Hubs for growth, with predictions that 4,875 new jobs will be created.

NI Water's Head of Investment Management, Stephen Blockwell, said: "NI Water's goal is to ensure we have a modern, efficient service today and in the future. The Utility Regulator has scrutinised our PC21 Business Plan and published its Final Determination in May 2021. NI Water accepted the Final Determination and its challenging recommendations in early July."

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With Capital expenditure the overall investment programme for the PC21 period (2021/22 – 2026/27) is valued at £2.1bn, with an efficiency challenge of £117m.

Dr Blockwell continued: "Our PC21 Business Plan will begin to address the sewer and wastewater capacity issues resulting from historical underinvestment in Northern Ireland. However, there are currently significant wastewater capacity issues in major parts of our cities and over 100 towns. Realistically the scale of these capacity issues will take at least 12 to 18 years and up to 2 to 3 Price Control periods to address.

"Our infrastructure plans over the 2021 – 2027 period (known as PC21) for the Fermanagh & Omagh District Council area will see an overall capital investment of circa £21m, which includes ca £10m to upgrade Wastewater Treatment works and sewer networks. This is over and above essential base maintenance investment associated with our assets during PC21. This investment will begin to address the sewer and wastewater capacity issues. However, we recognise that significant further investment will be required within the Council area during future Price Control periods to allow new housing and business development to proceed in some areas."

Dr Blockwell concluded: "NI Water is pleased that the Utility Regulator has recognised the need for a significant increase in investment in the funding of Water & Wastewater services to address the major issues that exist across Northern Ireland due to historical underinvestment. We welcome the fact that full funding has been provided for the first year of our Business Plan. However, in order to deliver on this plan it is essential that the NI Executive provides the full funding of the Final Determination throughout the 6 year PC21 period."

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