18/01/2002

Save water to avoid summer shortage warns Minister

More than 300,000 people in Belfast and County Down are being asked to economise their water usage in order to avoid a summer shortage.

Regional Development Minister, Peter Robinson MP MLA warned that a lack of rainfall has led to a significant drop in water levels at reservoirs in Silent Valley, leaving them only about a third full.

Met office figures show that the period of September to December was the driest on record since 1971. In addition, there was also less than average rainfall over the past year and this pattern looks set to continue into February.

Mr Robinson said: “It is highly unusual that the reservoirs should be low at this time of year and I know it will surprise many people. The present levels in the Silent Valley do not pose an immediate threat to supplies. However average, or above average, rainfall and a reduction in the amount of water used by customers are needed to avert problems later in the year.”

The Minister said that the Water service has already introduced a series of measures to increase water supply from other sources, but he stressed that the public must also help by using water more efficiently. Some of the measures that the Minister suggested the public use include: fixing leaking pipes, turning off the tap whilst cleaning your teeth, taking showers instead of baths and washing cars with buckets of water instead hoses.

For more information on saving water, contact the Water Service Customer Service Unit on: 08457 440088 for a free leaflet. You can also text phone on: 08457 023206 or e-mail: waterline@waterni.gov.uk. (KMcA)

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