Northern Ireland Water says it has no concerns over supply for the wider east Antrim area as Carrick reservoirs refill after a £1.6 million refurbishment programme.
A total of seven locations were covered in the scheme with work at the final two expected to conclude later this month^.
East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs sought assurances over water levels during an exchange with Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy at the Assembly.
Mr Beggs asked the minister for an update on the maintenance work at the Copeland and North Woodburn reservoirs, which have been lying empty for most of this year, and to state when they will come back into service.
Mr Kennedy replied: “NI Water has advised that there are seven reservoirs in the Carrick area that are being refurbished as part of an ongoing routine maintenance programme over the past 18 to 20 months. Water levels have been lowered in the reservoirs to allow that work to progress.
“Work on five reservoirs has been completed, and work on the remaining two — Copeland and Lower South Woodburn — is due to be completed by the end of July, after which they will be refilled. Again, the rate of refill will depend on the weather.”
Mr Beggs went on to ask “can the minister assure us that there are sufficient stocks of water in the other reservoirs that serve the wider east Antrim area to carry us over the summer”.
In response, Mr Kennedy noted the five reservoirs where work has been completed are progressively refilling naturally.
He continued; “Of course, the rate of refilling depends on weather and rainfall. I can be challenged about many things, but providing additional rainfall is probably not one of them. The same principles will therefore apply on the remaining two: Copeland and Lower South Woodburn. We hope that will deal with the situation.”
In a statement to the TIMES, NI Water provided an update on the programme.
It explained: “As work on these reservoirs has yet to complete, the total cost is not available. However, we do estimate the cost of the entire package of work, which includes the refurbishment of five other reservoirs, to be in the region of £1.6 million.
“The current storage in the remaining impounding reservoirs is satisfactory for the time of year and NI Water does not presently have any concerns.”