Addressing the water infrastructure challenge

RSUA recently met with Sara Venning, Chief Executive of NI Water and members of her senior team to discuss the challenges facing architects due to inadequate wastewater infrastructure in many parts of Northern Ireland.


Currently new building projects in certain areas of Northern Ireland are not permitted to proceed due to insufficient capacity in our wastewater infrastructure. At the meeting we discussed timeframes for improvements to wastewater infrastructure and how this will enable development in particular geographic areas over the next few years.

It was agreed that a follow up meeting focusing specifically on the Belfast area would be beneficial.

RSUA acknowledges that new infrastructure cannot be delivered overnight and therefore it is important to also focus on how we make the best of things in the meantime. At the meeting we discussed the following

  • How do we avoid wasting people’s time trying to build/get planning permission in areas where there will be no improvement to water infrastructure capacity for a number of years
  • How do we make sure that NI Water assessments of ‘no additional burden on the system’ are undertaken in a reasonable timescale and at a reasonable cost

Suggestions were proposed that would improve the system in the meantime. NI Water undertook to review these suggestions and seek to improve the service.

The agenda also included a brief discussion on climate change. However it was agreed that a separate meeting was required on this subject. It was agreed that at that meeting we will l discuss NI Water’s plan for its buildings, the potential for growing future building materials (timber) on NI water land and the opportunities for wider community use of NI Water energy generation.

-RSUA  25/05/2022

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