31/05/2006

Private firm wins £110m water treatment contract

The Regional Development Minister, David Cairns, has today announced that Dalriada Water has been awarded a £110 million contract to upgrade water treatment facilities.

This means that the Alpha Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Project will upgrade the water treatment facilities, which provide 50% of Northern Ireland's water supply.

This represents savings in excess of 25% from the from the preliminary estimate of £154 million, which was announced in June 2004.

Speaking on the announcement, David Cairns said: "This contract will improve drinking water quality for customers across Northern Ireland. It will also help to provide the necessary infrastructure improvements to support new housing, commercial and industrial development in Northern Ireland.

"The Alpha Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Project has already been successful in reducing costs and will allow the implementation of projects at an accelerated rate."

The Minister also said that it was important to continue to gain investment to protect public health, safeguard the environment and respond to increasing demand.

He added that great lengths are being taken to address this issue with investment running at a staggering £1 million a day - over £1 billion between 2003 and 2008.

However he stressed that to maintain these services, it is vital that we start paying for them through direct charges.

Katharine Bryan, Chief Executive of Water Service welcomed the award of this contract commenting: "Water Service has been successful in using this PPP project to procure the upgrading of water treatment facilities through a Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) contract. The partnership with Dalriada Water is an important part of the Water Service's capital investment programme which will ensure compliance with standards, protect the environment and provide value for money for our customers."

The Water Treatment facilities included in the Alpha PPP Project are located at Ballinrees, Castor Bay, Forked Bridge, Dunore Point and Moyola including associated link mains.

The Programme is co-sponsored by the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) Limited.

Mr David Gavaghan, SIB Chief Executive said: "The Alpha Project is one of the best and fastest procured PPP infrastructure deals in the UK. This demonstrates a new confidence in Northern Ireland's ability to deliver large and complex infrastructure projects.

"This extensive procurement attracted high quality interest from leading specialists in the national and international utility sector, as well as providing new opportunities for our indigenous companies," he concluded.

(EF/SP)

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