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Deluge opens floodgates to criticism of agencies

By Stephen McVey

The recent bad weather in South Belfast has opened up the floodgates to criticism of how agencies are dealing with flooding in areas such as Sicily Park.SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell has held meetings with NI Water to address the response procedures that were implemented in the Finaghy area.

“We have stressed the need for NI Water to take immediate and urgent action to protect residents’ homes from flash flooding. NIW needs to answer questions and needs to answer them now. Residents can’t continue to live in the fear of flooding every time it rains.”

One Sicily Park resident said that when he reported concerns over flooding in his garden to NI Water, he was told that the water in the garden was surface water and NI Water was not responsible for this. NIW has explained its actions.

“Our policy is not to give out sandbags; Belfast City Council provided a number of sandbags to those who needed them. Any requests for sandbags should be made through the council and not NI Water. As is normal protocol with any flooding incident, NI Water will coordinate with other agencies if flooding was to occur again.”

Following the meeting with NIW, Conall McDevitt said that more clarity is needed regarding the responsibilities of specific agencies. He is lobbying for an improvement in the efficiency of the response to future floods.

“NI Water committed to bringing forward a planned upgrade to the sewerage system but also agreed to provide detail on the protocols. We have since been advised that the Council have provided some sandbags however much confusion still surrounds who exactly is responsible for what, ” he said.

NI Water said it is taking measures to make sure there is not a repeat of the sewage related flooding in South Belfast which took place in recent times.


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