Posted on Monday 1 April 2019 by John Mulgrew

Water 1

Major commercial investment in Belfast and beyond could be at risk and new connections stopped by 2021 if an additional £800m is not freed up to modernise the sewage system, Ulster Business can reveal.

It’s understood NI Water could ask for the additional resources as part of its next capacity round which begins in 2021.

Stakeholders and senior civil servants met recently to discuss their concerns, with one warning that new developments or connections – such as major infrastructure schemes – may not be able to be connected without the investment, due to a lack of capacity. The investment is also required outside Greater Belfast, and could amount to around £500m.

According to one source, some housing projects have already been put on standby, due to capacity issues, but larger schemes could be at risk.

It could mean NI Water seeking between £2.5bn and £3bn. In its last funding phase – running between 2015 and 2021 – it received £990m, against its requirement of £1.7bn.

There are concerns that the lack of devolved government here could cause further complications in setting a multi-year spending approach.

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