The reservoirs are empty!

So despite having quite alot of precipitation it seems the system cannot cope and the statement released by NI Water confirms that large parts of Belfast are without water as the reservoirs are nearly empty.

Having tried and failed to get unto the NI Water website i’m still non the wiser as to if and when the water will be back on.

From what i can gather on facebook BT5 – BT12 is without water but looking at the statement linked above BT7 appears to have water though i have friends saying otherwise.

In the interest of getting a broader picture use the comments section to add post codes without water.

Niall O Donnghaile (SF Mount Pottinger) helpfully posted this on his facebook

High Priority Drinking water distribution is available from tankers at three Council sites:

Avoniel Leisure Centre (East)

Whiterock Leisure Centre (West)

Olympia Leisure Centre (South)

Operating 8.OOpm 10pm tonight (28/12) and from 9am tomorrow (29/12) limited to 20 litres per household (water supplies from NI Water permitting). Residents MUST bring own containers.

, , , , , ,

  • As far as I can make out, parts of BT6 and BT9 are without water (specifically, my and my girlfriend’s houses). It’s not entirely consistent with postcode boundaries.

  • Speaking of which, this is on the NI Water wesbsite at

    Interruption to Water Supplies – Update

    28 December 2010

    NI Water is dealing with interruptions to water supplies across a large number of areas in the province as a result of the severe weather and on-going thaw. Our Major Incident Team has been in operation for the past number of days headed by our Senior Executives.

    As a result of the high water demand being experienced (primarily due to a number of bursts to private supplies), a number of our reservoirs are currently at low water levels and we are trying to rezone and recharge the water network. NI Water have to alternate supplies from some of our reservoirs therefore customers will experience a loss of water for a period of time, however it is anticipated that this interruption will only last a number of hours and water will be restored to customers in a timely manner.

    The main areas that are affected at present due to the alternating of water supplies are as follows:

    • Lisburn BT27 & BT28 areas
    • Antrim BT17 areas
    • Belfast BT4, BT5, BT6, BT11, BT13, BT14, BT17 & BT18 areas
    • Crumlin BT29 areas
    • Templepatrick BT39 areas
    • Newtownabbey BT36 areas
    • Kilkeel town and surrounds
    • Hilltown area
    • Newtownhamilton area
    • Newry (affecting the following areas Killian Bridge, Dublin Rd., Cloughue area)
    • Ballymena BT44 areas
    • Cookstown BT80 areas
    • L’Derry BT48 areas

    It is anticipated that the areas outlined above will be back in supply between 6 – 8pm tonight.

    The following areas will be affected as a result of alternating supplies later on this evening Tuesday 28th December:

    • Rathfriland (affecting Moneyslane, Katesbridge and Annaclone)
    • Newry BT34(affecting the following areas Rathfriland Rd., Upper Damolly Rd., Crieve Rd., Ashgrove, Belfast Rd., Shandon Park, Damolly Village, Fullerton Rd., Barley Lane, Monkshill area, Lurganare, Donaghmore, The Glen)
    • Kilkeel area
    • Mullabawn (Annacloughmullion area)
    • Newtownhamilton (Knockovannon area)
    • Castlewellan Town & area
    • Banbridge BT32 areas
    • South Armagh BT35 areas
    • Warrenpoint
    • Hilltown
    • Mayobridge

  • Mark McGregor

    Funny how many of our politicians think the best way to deal with the impact of the worst protracted cold spell in decades is point scoring and attempting to turn whine into water.

  • West Sider

    Very funny, Mark.

    And very true. But just wait until professional windbag and cfrank magnet Nolan gets thundering on this.

    Heads and sausages will roll.

  • The water still has not come back in this part of BT6 (lower Ravenhill Road) at 9 p.m., despite the NI Water promise of having the water on by 8 p.m.

  • Mark McGregor


    How awful. Everything isn’t perfect after the deepest freeze in decades.

    You really should find someone to blame.

  • joeCanuck

    The story is now being reported worldwide on BBC World news.


    ‘re: BT6, After 38 minutes holding, I spoke to a person in NI Water.
    I was told that BT6 is served exclusively by Purdysburn which is critically low. The website estimate of 6-8pm is wrong. There is no estimated time for service resumption

    I had to dip a bucket into the Lagan to fill my cistern. I’m lucky I live near river and it’s not a safe thing to do


    RE: workers rights : if ones’ office building has no wrking toilet, are we obliged to stay? Ditto for no avaibility of drinking water?

  • joeCanuck


    Might depend on how committed you are to your company and vice versa. Legally you can probably go home to a non-working toilet and no water. At the same time, no work no pay will likely apply. What is your company doing to help you cope?

  • Mark McGregor


    Seems some people are looking a day off work so they can have a shit.

    I don’t think this level of moaning can be topped.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘Residents MUST bring own containers.’

    The cost of which WILL be removed from the rates bills in April. Or the salaries of those responsible.

    NIW. Unfit for purpose.

    NIAssembly Minister. Unfit for purpose.

    As Cromwell would have put it..’You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately … Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!’


    my question was a serious one. Sorry if the concept of giving workers dignity and hygiene is passé and not in keeping with the ethos of the ASDA/TESCO/ALLSTATE semi fascist tryptich state we live in, formerly Northern Ireland but these questions must be asked. Go team and high five and employee of the week award to Joe Canuck and fellow travellers.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, if we are giving out awards (and thank you for mine) I award you the Most Oppressed Employee Ever one. You can look at it lovingly while you sit at home shitting into your bucket.

  • edgeoftheunion

    If ever a situation asked for proper free information, instead of FOIs, it is this. I presume the water service (sorry freudian slip – NI Water plc) has maps of the water distribution system. Why are they not in the public domain? If they were we would have to do a lot less guessing about postcodes.

    Mark is right – It was bloody cold for NI but I must admit that amongst all the photo features on the pretty snow and tips on driving on ice I didn’t notice anyone saying:

    “Your pipes might have survived last year but they might not this year. If you are a commercial premises closed for the holiday it might be an idea to find out which pipes are frozen because a lot of water will be heading down the drain come the thaw.”

    I seem to remember that it required two bad winters before NIE got the message about maintenance.

  • thethoughtfulone

    Three actually!

    Our boy was just a wee tot when we had the three consecutive christmases with no power. The fourth christmas, a few days before the 25th he asked when the power was going off. Turns out he thought the power had to go off at christmas because the workers were on holiday!

  • pippakin

    Here is an update. Doctors warning.

  • MichaelMac

    As Mark has stated the worst freeze in decades has damaged the piping infrastructure and all we get is droning moans.

    ‘NIW is unfit for purpose’, the ‘Minister is unfit for purpose.’ Of course if the finance and structure had been set aside to cope in case we were going to have a deep freeze every 40 years then people would have droned that it was a terrible waste of resopurces.

    Murphy is a disgrace where was his 40 year plan?

  • We can moan about the lack of monitoring of water levels after Christmas. It takes quite some time to empty reservoir, even with a leak in a main NI Water distribution pipe. If NI Water had even sent up a worker to the reservoirs twice a day they would have noticed the rapidly falling levels.

    In fact, most water companies have quite sophisticated water monitoring systems. They set gauges at critical points in the distribution system (measuring levels in open areas, pressures in pipes and tanks) that transmit their data to central control rooms. That means they can quickly react to problems, rather than waiting for thousands of people to call in reporting that they have no water.

    What monitoring systems do NI Water have?

  • Mick Fealty

    One pertinent question might be: why does this not appear to be happening with the privatised water companies in Britain?

  • Mick Fealty

    Nor the slightly publicly owned ones in Wales and Scotland/

  • DC

    They were warned!

    Yesterday’s terrorists become tomorrow’s (pish poor?) politicians.

  • pippakin

    Didn’t the English water companies increase charges by huge amounts a few years back. If I’m right they said it was because the pipes etc needed upgrading…

  • My problem with the website was that it was saying that water would be restored in the parts listed in my cut and paste by 8pm, and other areas would be rotated out of supply. They need to expand their web team if they cannot keep the website updated with accurate information – because this will in turn reduce call volumes.

    Of course, people like me who only lost supply for a day should wind our necks in, and that’s why I didn’t call and just sat tight and moaned about the website 🙂 We’re a lot better off than those who’ve been without for a week or more!

  • Agreed Andy
    My water is back on (at the moment) but the website and lack of concrete info is a bloody joke.

  • DC

    Pippakin, there has been underinvestment in the water supply for ages that much is and was known to the currently elected politicians up at Stormont today.

    And still – even today – they will not raise extra revenue to cover improvements in supply and water services.

    They were warned in 2006 about supply across the range including reservoirs and volatile shifts in climate, weather, temperatures.

    Not sure what happened since then – but even before the New Executive of 2007 that was originally headed up by the former bigot Paisley and the ex-terrorist McGuinness – Robinson knew about the sewerage problems as reported in Martina Purdy’s book Room 21 Behind Closed Doors, going back to the UUP/SDLP executive-led days.

    I think Robinson was pretty aghast at the sewerage problems and the state of the infrastructure in Belfast; so, there should be no other reasons or factors at play to suggest that the water supply infrastructure -the pipes etc -together were not in similar sort of state.

    Which is why charges were due to come in before the New Exective of 07 scrapped all that extra revenue on their return to government after Paisley and Adams egos were massaged enough to get along together by the two charismatic leaders of Blair and Ahern in a bold (and now comparatively expensive?) attempt to do a wee bit of regional governing in NI.

    But sure isn’t this the same political cohort that messed about and didn’t do their work or a wee hand’s turn for 6 months or so back in 2008.

    The 2007 NI ExecutiveEPIC FAIL, because they will not take difficult decisions that are required when in government as it might affect electoral performance – get off the stage and back to what you know best: negative non-government politics – it’ll likely cost the rate payers less over the long term!

  • pippakin


    Thanks, but I was only pointing out that England, might, have spent more money on infrastructure. Not sure because a) I don’t trust the water companies, b) I don’t trust the government, and c) England is usually a few degrees warmer than here and that might have made a crucial difference.

    This aught to be a time for the south to show how much further advanced we are. If only. As for Stormont, what does anyone expect? Bombers and Bigots do not make the best builders.

  • Harry Flashman

    Hang on a minute, am I reading this correctly? The reservoirs of Northern Ireland are nearly empty? In mid-winter? You’re joking!

    That sodden, windswept, corner of the subarctic island that for fifty one and a half weeks of the year is submerged under scudding grey skies dumping vast torrents of the Atlantic ocean over field and fountain moor and mountain has now run dry? Is this for real?

    I live in a third world tropical island where for six months of the year the sun is splitting the stones from 6am till nightfall and where rain might not be seen from one month to the next during the dry season and I complain about the fact that at the worst of time the water in my power shower seems a bit sluggish and occasionally slightly brackish.

    And Northern Ireland’s reservoirs are empty. In December.

    Holy shit (and all the other shit which the unfortunate rate payers of Northern Ireland can’t seem to flush away) that takes incompetence to a truly mind boggling level.

    I love the way the BBC faithfully reproduces their fellow bureaucrats’ statement blaming “private” water users. Yup, this monumental cock up is obviously the fault of private individuals, couldn’t possibly be the useless cretins who are actually paid to provide clean water and remove raw sewage from peoples’ homes now could it?

  • DC


    I understand entirely because certain people in the government of Ireland can bankrupt the country and still get out on a king’s ransom. How can that be right?

    I’m *almost* convinced the only time you get real change is when – collectively – root and branch – the gutter gets into power but with a plan – all the rest just fleece the system for what its worth regardless of what the populace gets out.

    If Ireland wanted someone to bankrupt it, I would have done it just for the basic state pension, Ahern’s one lucky chap.

  • Mick Fealty

    PIP and DC,

    Can we stick to the subject in hand. There is plenty of material to be got through without resorting to adolescent man-playing games.

  • “Holy shit (and all the other shit which the unfortunate rate payers of Northern Ireland can’t seem to flush away)that takes incompetence to a truly mind boggling level”

    It seems that Christmas cracker jokes are on the rise. The resevoirs may be emptying but, unfortunately, there is no sign of a “political watershed”

  • pippakin

    Mick Fealty

    I answered your own question: .”One pertinent question might be: why does this not appear to be happening with the privatised water companies in Britain?” England went from paying one hundred odd pounds a year to paying several hundred a year. It made headlines at the time…

    Adolescent man playing games? Perhaps and of course I regret that, but politicians earnings and pensions compare unfavourably to unemployment benefits, especially when paying for bottled water.

  • Reader

    Harry Flashman: And Northern Ireland’s reservoirs are empty. In December.
    I think it is local reservoir capacity that is struggling. I expect the main source reservoirs ought to be OK – they just can’t distribute the water fast enough.