Northern Ireland

Hydrant abuse hits Belfast water supplies

Gushing water hydrant
Image caption Hydrant abuse is causing disruption of water supplies to hundreds of homes and businesses

Fire hydrant abuse in parts of Belfast has resulted in disrupted water supplies in hundreds of homes and businesses, NI Water has said.

Thirty hydrants have been vandalised with an estimated three-quarters of a million litres being wasted daily.

NI Water said staff had been working around the clock to close vandalised hydrants.

However, the company said its efforts were hindered in many cases when its staff were threatened and abused.

NI Water said its Waterline number had received an increased number of calls over the last few days from members of the public affected by no water, or loss of water pressure.

NI Water said it was because of "the mindless waste of water" in their community.

They estimate the cost to NI Water and the taxpayer will run into thousands of pounds if the damage continues through the summer.

Darren Rock, customer field manager, said there is a particular problem in the Belfast area when there is good weather.

"Opening fire hydrants is not only extremely dangerous for the people living in the area if a fire was to break out, but also a huge inconvenience to those whose water supply is affected as a result.

The whole community is suffering because of the selfish actions of a few," he said.

"On behalf of NI Water, I would appeal to everyone to consider who they are putting at risk; it could even be their own family and friends."

NI Water said hydrant abuse has resulted in the equivalent of the supply to 2,000 homes being lost per day.