NI water shortages: Your stories


About 40,000 people across Northern Ireland are struggling to cope without water supplies. Northern Ireland Water has warned that the disruption could continue for several more days.

Almost 80 towns and villages across Northern Ireland have been affected. Some people have been without water for eight days.

BBC News website readers there have been sharing their experiences.

Kerry Nicholson, South Belfast

"Our water went off on Boxing Day and as our neighbours still had water we assumed it was our pipes that were frozen. We went and filled up containers with water which luckily we've kept as our water is off again now.

It came back on Monday morning but then, one by one, our friends started reporting that theirs had gone off so it wasn't just an isolated thing.

The main thing we've noticed is the sheer volume of water needed to flush the toilet and keep the place sanitary. I've discovered you can have a wash with just a kettle of water and a flannel but you need a lot more to flush the toilets.

Luckily we've got two water trugs that we filled up with rainwater from the neighbour's roof which we've been using to flush the toilets. "

Mark Parker, Annahilt

"We're a family of five with three teenagers, two of them are girls so you can imagine what it's like.

At the moment we've got extremely low pressure which means about the most we can do is fill a kettle. Even that takes three minutes.

We've not had a shower or done any laundry for three days as the pressure in our system has been so low that it's not enough to fill our header tank or run the electric showers.

We've got containers and I went out and got bottled water at Banbridge, but almost everywhere is out of bottled water.

I've tried all the avenues to get information about the issues in my area through by email, phone or on the website. There's no obvious signs of the water services at work in our area so I've still no idea if it's a localised issue or part of a wider problem.

I was on hold for 45 minutes yesterday morning before giving up trying. For the rest of the day the 24 hour Helpline was constantly engaged and the website gave no information about the BT26 area where I live.

At the moment we've no idea when we'll be back to a normal service."

Dame Joan Harbison, Older People's Advocate for Northern Ireland

"I wrote to a number of Ministers before Christmas on behalf of older people requesting that a concerted plan be put in place to deal with what we all knew was going to be an emergency situation once the thaw came.

This was never going to be a single department issue. It needs co-ordination and leadership to ensure all the agencies are working together, sharing expertise and resources to meet need.

My particular concern is older people, without water and in some cases heat but cannot even make themselves a cup of tea. The hygiene issue is now one of great concern and Health and Social Services need to gear themselves up for increasing incidences of illness. Social Services need to have a plan for alerting other agencies to the needs of people with special needs whatever those are.

The Councils are now opening the leisure centres and the Fire Service has been called in but it is all reactive and ad hoc.

Water tankers at leisure centres are not much good if you are living in an isolated community with little mobility or even if you are living alone in Belfast or Coleraine and don't have the ability to carry water. How's an older person going to be able to carry water? I'm an active older person and I've struggled.

I've been without water for 36 hours and have been relying on the help of neighbours to get water in. The real difficulty is not knowing how long it will take to fix. We need more information from NI Water on what they're doing and where so people can form a judgment on how long they might be without water."

James Lawson, Lisburn

"Every time we call Northern Ireland Water it's the same - they have no idea when it will be turned on. It's disgraceful and now becoming a health risk.

Some friends have been round with water but we're now down to our last two litres. People are filling up empty bottles at the leisure complex three miles away - I am on incapacity and cannot walk three miles to fill up empty bottles.

I've started going to the toilet outside to save water so my wife can use it inside."

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