Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has viewed two major projects that have been recently completed in counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.
A major £9 million investment was completed at Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works to improve the security of the water supply for customers in large areas of Fermanagh and Clogher Valley.
This major upgrade work involved the construction of a new clear water storage tank on the existing site, as well as a new pumping station to allow for a future increase in water supply demands.
Mr O’Dowd followed the Killyhevlin visit with a tour of Tullychurry Forest and a Castlederg farm to see restoration work undertaken as part of the recently completed EU INTERREG VA funded Source to Tap project, which is designed to protect and improve rivers and lakes in the Erne and Derg cross border drinking water catchments.
Sara Venning, CEO at NI Water, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister to the Killyhevlin and Source to Tap projects, marking the recent completion of both major investments.
“Nine million pounts was invested to upgrade the Killyhevlin plant, which supplies around 36 million litres of water per day to our customers in Fermanagh and the Clogher Valley.
“The visit was also a great opportunity to catch up with the Source to Tap team to view some of the great successes of the project, which explored sustainable, cost-effective catchment management measures designed to protect source drinking water catchments in the future.
“The project also trialled a range of innovative techniques from farm water protection measures to peat bog restoration at Tullychurry, as well as working successfully with local communities to educate them on the journey of water from source to tap.
“The Killyhevlin upgrade will provide additional water supply to customers and ensure operational efficiency, particularly during emergency situations, when we may need to shut down the main plant or when we complete other planned maintenance to our water supply network.
“Both projects will protect and future-proof the local water infrastructure and bring essential environmental benefits through enhancing raw water quality in the Erne and Derg catchments through Source to Tap.
“There is no doubt that customers, businesses and tourism in the area will benefit through improved security of the local water supply and drinking water quality.”
Mr O’Dowd added: “I am delighted to be here to view the completion of this £9 million investment by NI Water on site at Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works.
“This is welcome news for the 50,000 people who will benefit directly from increased resilience and security of the water supply for many years to come, particularly during winter periods and other emergency situations.
“This investment will make a real difference to people living, visiting and working in parts of Fermanagh and Clogher Valley and highlights the high returns that can be gained when we invest in our water and wastewater services.”
The Minister continued: “The work of the cross-border Source to Tap programme really is making a real tangible difference to the environment at Tullychurry Forest.
“It was useful to see the restoration work NI Water and their partners have undertaken and their use of innovative techniques to restore peatland and encourage the land back into a functioning bog.
“When using these natural techniques in close proximity to drinking water abstraction points it not only benefits biodiversity but also helps to improve raw water quality and reduces energy and treatment costs which is so important given current rising energy costs.
“These type of projects also help to rejuvenate peatlands and store more carbon which is important in our battle against climate change.
“I also visited a farm at Castlederg which has also benefitted from the Source to Tap Project by helping to reduce soil erosion into the river thereby reducing the sediment and improve water quality downstream.”
n The €4.9 million Source to Tap project was funded through the EU’s INTERREG VA programme through the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) together with funding from DAERA in Northern Ireland and the Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) in the Republic.
n The project partners are NI Water, Irish Water, the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, East Border Region, University of Ulster and the Rivers Trust.
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