Northern Ireland news

NI Water: Long-term funding required in face of climate crisis

NI Water has launched its annual integrated report and warned of the challenges posed by the climate crisis.
Staff Reporter

THE north's water infrastructure requires "sustained investment" in order to meet demand in the face of challenges including climate change, NI Water has said.

Launching its annual integrated report, the agency said it was time to "properly fund" infrastructure in order to meet the needs of service users, and said it was focussed on building a "carbon neutral and climate resilient" model.

NI Water's director of finance and regulation, Ronan Larkin, said water infrastructure "is the foundation for public health" and "can unlock economic growth and help restore the natural environment".

He said: "NI Water can only continue to play this vital role if we are able to invest today to meet not only the increased demand for our services, but also the combined challenge of the climate emergency and the biodiversity crisis.

"In the last year NI Water has led the way in developing approaches to tackle these pressures. Now we need to work with our stakeholders to make this a reality through innovation, collaboration and the right sense of urgency."

Mr Larkin said the agency's ambitions "can only be realised if we can secure longer term funding certainty that comes with multi-year funding in line with that determined by the independent Utility Regulator, supported by a mechanism to deal with financial shocks"

He added: "Climate change is of particular importance to the water sector given its impact on the quality and quantity of water sources, the carbon intensity of its supply chain, and the exposure of its assets to extreme weather events."

Speaking of measures implemented to deal with the growing threat, Mr Larkin said: "We are partnering with our stakeholders to help restore our natural environment by rewetting our degraded peatbogs, planting one million trees and using nature based infrastructure solutions."

Northern Ireland news