30/10/2001

Major investment in Down’s water and sewerage

DRD Water Service is planning to invest almost £80 million on water and sewerage projects in the Down District area over the next three years.

Details of the investments were outlined by Fred Keatley, Eastern Division Principal Engineer, and Southern Divisional Water Manager, Sidney McKee, when they presented the Capital Works Programme at a meeting of Down District Council.

Mr Keatley told councillors that the second stage of a major scheme to replace the 100-year-old Mourne Conduit was substantially complete. He said: "The Mourne Conduit serves a population of around 280,000 across County Down but is now reaching the end of its useful life.

“The first stage of this scheme, known as the Aquarius Project, is now complete and was put into service in February of this year. Good progress is being made on the second stage which will cost around £16 million to complete."

A major project to provide a Water Treatment Works for the Silent Valley at a cost of £35 million has now reached the design stage.

Mr Keatley said the scheme, which will serve the majority of people across County Down and South Belfast, was currently at the tender stage but that he was hoping to award the design contract by November 2001 with a view to starting work on site by next summer, subject to planning approval.

A total of over £5 million is also being spent on replacing and upgrading distribution watermains in the council area and Mr Keatley said these schemes would improve water quality and operating pressures and ensure security of supply.

Other schemes currently under way include the construction of new reservoirs at Ballylucas and Russells Quarter. Appraisal studies are also ongoing to identify further new reservoirs to improve storage capacity and cater for future increases in demand.

Presenting the Capital Works Programme for Southern Division, which serves a small section around Castlewellan, Sidney McKee said there were plans to spend more than £14 million over the next three years. Mr McKee also informed councillors that over £1million would be spent on the upgrading of Annsborough, Kilcoo and Castlewellan Waste Water Treatment Works to cater for increasing population and new discharge standards.

Referring to a review of Water Service’s capital investment plan, which is currently underway, Mr McKee told councillors that the funds available to Water Service could provide many improvements to water and sewerage facilities but could not meet all levels of capital investment needed. (MB)

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