Northern Ireland

New pipes blamed over Kilkeel water problems

Northern Ireland Water has said faults with newly installed pipes caused the loss of supply to hundreds of customers in Kilkeel at the weekend.

Six hundred homes lost water in the town. NI Water said issues with 50 homes on Monday had now been resolved.

Last week, a burst main on the Head Road caused 3,000 homes to lose water supply.

NI Water said the pipes used in the repair of that problem had been found to be faulty.

"NI Water will be carrying out investigations with the manufacturer of this pipework," it said.

Meanwhile, the company has also rejected criticism of how it communicated with customers affected by the problems.

UK Independence Party councillor Henry Reilly said he had been contacted by people trying to get information.

He said the company's performance had been "abysmal".

'Pulling teeth'

"It's like pulling teeth from NI Water to try and get basic information," he said.

"I think they really need to improve that aspect."

However, Liam Mulholland from NI Water said the company had been "extremely proactive" in getting information out.

"The website was updated five times one day last week, seven occasions another day and constantly over the weekend," he said.

"We proactively contacted every vulnerable customer who was on our register in that area, we contacted the two schools in the area, we contacted nursing homes in the area."

He said a hotline had also been set up for elected representatives to get information.

During the Christmas period, up to 40,000 homes lost water due to the freezing weather conditions.

NI Water was severely criticised for the lack of information given to customers.

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