Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Water cuts off 40,000 homes overnight

An employee of Northern Ireland Water fills plastic containers for members of the public outside the company's headquarters in North Belfast on 31 December 2010
Image caption NI Water said it would be "at least three or four more days" before everyone was reconnected

About 40,000 properties in Northern Ireland have had their mains water supplies temporarily cut off overnight, as engineers work to refill reservoirs.

But Northern Ireland Water says the number of homes without running water has fallen to about 800.

Thousands were left without supplies over the Christmas break because of burst pipes, caused by the thaw after freezing conditions.

Dozens of schools may be unable to re-open due to water damage.

The Department of Education said it would consult with the education boards on Monday and publish a list of those schools affected.

More disruption

Even customers not affected by burst pipes will have had their water supplies cut off overnight to allow reservoirs to be replenished. The disruption is expected to last until 0800 GMT on Monday.

A full list of areas where the water supply has been turned off is available on the NI Water website, along with a list of locations where temporary water supplies have been set up.

State-owned NI Water, which is the sole provider of water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland, said the number of houses without water was down to 799.

The main affected areas are parts of Cookstown, Dungannon, Newry and Warrenpoint, and some 500 NI Water staff are dealing with those properties.

The company said it would be "at least three or four more days" before everyone was reconnected.

Arctic weather conditions, followed by a sudden thaw, caused large numbers of burst pipes in buildings and in the mains supply, draining unprecedented amounts of water from the system.

Some people have been without running water for almost two weeks.

While NI Water has responsibility for leaking pipes in the main system, its responsibility ends when the supply enters properties.

However, many of the leaks are understood to be within unoccupied homes and businesses, and the company has urged customers to check their properties and have the pipes repaired as soon as possible.

Bill Gowdy, from the water company, said: "We do urge owners of properties, of vacant properties, of outbuildings, please go and check to see if there's any leaks because there's a significant number of leaks on private property."

Are you in Northern Ireland? Are you experiencing problems with your water supply? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below.

Your contact details

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

The BBC's Privacy Policy

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites