01/07/2003

Report shows NI drinking water in the clear

Northern Ireland's drinking water has met the required standards of cleanliness according to a new report

The statutory 2002 Drinking Water Quality Report indicated that 98.55% of all tests carried out on samples taken from customers’ taps complied with the regulatory standards set by the Water Quality Regulations (Northern Ireland) for 2002.

Commenting on today's report, Minister of State, John Spellar said: "The report shows an improvement on 2001 performance, and that Water Service is moving towards its target of 99 per cent compliance with regulatory standards by 2006.

“Increased investment in treatment works and networks is essential to enable Water Service to match these water quality standards. Secure, long-term and sustainable funding from water charges, when they are introduced in 2006, will allow the necessary investment that has already started to be sustained.

“The protection of public health remains our highest priority. This is why Ministers allocated an additional £180 million funding to Water Service in the 2002 Budget. This will enable £460 million of capital investment to be carried out over the next three years. In addition to this, plans are being developed for a programme of Public Private Partnerships which could deliver over £250 million of additional investment in these vital services.”

Today's report will have been a major boost for the Water Service after having invested £60 million on water related projects last year aimed at further improving the quality of supplies. 104,645 tests were conducted on Water Service’s supplies during the period of the report.

(MB)

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