NI Water launches its Annual Report

    Launching its Annual Integrated Report for 2022/23, NI Water has reiterated the necessity of full funding to protect public health, enhance the environment and underpin economic growth.

    Ronan Larkin, Director of Finance Regulation and Commercial comments: “NI Water has returned a strong performance across its key outputs, it continues with the investment programmes set out in the price control and is looking ahead to address the challenges posed by the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

    “It’s clear to us all just how vital it is to protect the natural resources we all depend upon.  To do this, we must invest in our vital water and wastewater infrastructure.  The need for increased investment is recognised across the water sector in UK and Ireland.

    “Delivery of our essential services is dependent on committing to the full funding of Northern Ireland’s water and sewerage infrastructure. The ‘out of sight, out of mind’ adage is no longer an acceptable approach to adopt. Provision of clean, safe drinking water and adequate 21st century drainage that meets customer need must be front and centre of all funding decisions and discussions going forward.

    “It is unacceptable for a critical infrastructure provider, with decades-long investment horizons, to be held hostage to in-year and year-by-year funding fluctuations. The long-term security of Northern Ireland’s water and wastewater services can only be realised if we move from a ‘stop-start’ approach to delivery because of underfunding and lack of visibility on funding, to multi-year funding in line with that determined by the independent Utility Regulator, supported by a mechanism to deal with financial shocks.

    “We continue to engage with our Government Shareholder and other stakeholders to secure the funding across PC21, supported by financial resilience.  The current approach to funding NI Water is undermining the delivery of our vital services. 

    “Our business is essential to support a healthy and thriving population, a growing economy, and a flourishing natural environment. Our focus is delivering clean safe drinking water and recycling wastewater safely to the environment today and tomorrow.

    “NI Water completed the second year of this six-year PC21 Business Plan (2021-27), which sets out the step change in investment required to address the most critical needs and enable Northern Ireland to thrive from its water and sewerage infrastructure. This plan also sets out the performance improvements we are committing to deliver for our customers and how we are continuing to drive efficiency and innovation.”

    The Director of Finance Regulation and Commercial outlines some key initiatives highlighted in the report.

    “NI Water is focussed on building a carbon neutral and climate resilient business.  We are committed to delivering a net zero, climate resilient future for all our customers. Our Climate Change Strategy was published in May 2023 and sets out how we can harness the huge and largely unseen potential for NI Water to address climate change.

    “Several of the approaches we are taking will benefit our society and economy more broadly as it seeks to decarbonise and exploit the benefits of green growth through a just transition. We have challenged ourselves to go further and faster than the net zero 2050 targets set by law.

    “NI Water is committed to achieve net zero for the energy we use by 2030 and net zero for all our emissions by 2040, as measured against our 2020/21 adjusted baseline. We can also play a strategically important role in helping society to decarbonise by planting one million trees; building more renewables on our land; kick-starting our hydrogen economy; and providing sources of warmth for district heating schemes.”

    Ronan Larkin also highlighted that NI Water has an important role to play in boosting biodiversity “NI Water is a nature-based business at its heart. Our assets are entwined with the natural water cycle and our land holdings hold a rich array of plants and animals. We are partnering with our stakeholders to help restore our natural environment by rewetting our degraded peatbogs, planting trees, and using nature-based infrastructure solutions. Not only can this help boost biodiversity, but it can also deliver a range of other benefits such as improved raw water quality, flood alleviation, carbon removal and storage and cost efficiencies.”