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28 January 2008

RD 02/08

Water: we have made progress, but there remains a way to go.

Commenting on the Independent Water Review Panel’s Strand Two Report published today, the Chairperson of the Committee for Regional Development , Fred Cobain MLA, said:

“The Committee has spent the past week considering the Strand Two Report and has forwarded an interim response to the Minister today.

“The issues raised in the report are complex. The Committee has endorsed many of the recommendations in relation to governance, sustainability and the medium-term future of the business model.

“However, the timeframe for the Review and the scale and scope of the issues covered in Strand One and Strand Two are very challenging. The Committee is carrying out further detailed work on the key issues of affordability and poverty and business models that may deliver cheaper bills to water customers.

“Progress has been made on water, but there remains a way to go.

Water has been a priority for the Regional Development Committee since devolution last year. The Committee agrees that the new arrangements must both protect the most vulnerable in our society from poverty and hardship and ensure that all households and enterprises in Northern Ireland have clean, safe and reliable drinking water and sewerage services, provided in an efficient, sustainable, fair and transparent manner.

Mr Cobain concluded:

“On behalf of the Committee I would like to commend Paddy Hillyard and the other members of Review Panel for their efforts on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland. I would also like to thank Northern Ireland Water, the Utility Regulator, the Consumer Council and the voluntary and community sector organisations for generously placing their time and expertise at the disposal of the Committee. “


Notes for Editors:

Membership of the Regional Development Committee is as follows:
Chairperson: Mr Fred Cobain
Deputy Chairperson: Mr Jim Wells
Committee Members: Mr William Irwin
Mr Stephen Moutray
Mr George Robinson
Mr Brian Wilson
Mr Cathal Boylan
Mr Willie Clarke
Mr Raymond McCartney
Mr John Dallat
Mr John McCallister

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