Scottish government send water aid to Northern Ireland

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The Scottish Government has today arranged for a delivery of bottled water to help authorities in Northern Ireland meet the needs of households cut off from mains supplies.

A shipment from bottling plants in Banff and Forfar will be loaded aboard the Larne ferry this evening following discussions between the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Arrangements for the delivery of around 160,000 litres of bottled water are being taken forward by Scottish Water.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Keith Brown said:

“We are pleased to have been able to offer supplies of bottled water to colleagues in Northern Ireland and that the Northern Ireland Assembly has accepted this offer of support.

“Scotland understands only too well the impact of severe winter weather on households and infrastructure. At a time when 40,000 households across Northern Ireland are without water supplies we are pleased to be able to extend this support to a friend and neighbour in need.

“The continuing thaw has seen a four fold increase in calls to Scottish Water from householders and businesses dealing with burst pipes in Scotland.

“The company is continuing to tackle burst pipes and leaks across the country to help ensure normal water supplies are maintained and has brought in additional staff to deal with the volume of calls.

“While Scottish Water is responding positively to the increased demand we cannot afford to be complacent. That is why it is vital that domestic and commercial customers remain vigilant and help by re-checking their private property and land for bursts or leaks and having them repaired by a plumber as quickly as possible.”

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s Customer Service Delivery Director, said:

“Given that so many people are experiencing unprecedented problems with their water supply in Northern Ireland, Scottish Water is happy to offer its support and respond positively to this request for assistance.

“We understand completely that homes and businesses in Scotland are without water because of leaking or burst pipes, however this helping hand to our neighbours will not affect our service to our customers in Scotland.

“We have been working at full capacity for several days, and drafting in extra resources to deal with the impact the extreme weather in Scotland. This has involved responding to leaks, delivering bottled water and providing advice. None of this frontline response will be diverted in Scotland to handle this request. Neither will it impact on our ability to deal with any water supply issues that arise in Scotland.

“We are confident that Scottish Water customers will appreciate that the situation in Northern Ireland is truly exceptional and that it is right that any assistance available is offered.”