Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon is calling on everyone to use their water wisely by reducing unnecessary water use to protect supplies.
NI Water has advised that demand is currently outstripping supply and that we all need to take steps now to ensure everyone has sufficient water supply for essential hygiene and daily use.
Minister Mallon said: “There has been an increase in water usage over the last few weeks with the recent prolonged dry weather. For example, on Thursday 15 July NI Water put 695 million litres of water into their distribution system – over 120 million litres more than normal. With further good weather forecast and the fact we are only in mid-July, we need to act now to protect water levels and prevent interruptions to supply or low pressure.
“There are many small, simple steps that all of us can make to use our water wisely. Over the past year and a half, the need for our precious water supplies has never been more evident in terms of our public health. Every small change can make a big difference when we work together to protect our water supplies – how we use our water can have a massive impact on water levels.
“A hose for example uses more water in one hour than the average family uses in a whole day. Large swimming pools and pressure washers also use massive amounts of water. NI Water has reported an increase in night usage meaning some customers are leaving sprinklers and hoses on overnight. We want everyone to be able to enjoy their home and garden in the good weather. Please stop and think if what you are doing is essential or if there is something you can do to help protect this precious resource to ensure everyone has access to sufficient supply.”
NI Water has some good tips on water conservation here https://www.niwater.com/how-to-save-water/. They also offer a free text alert service so that you can keep updated about anything that may impact on their water supply or any of our other services in the area. Sign up here https://www.niwater.com/register-for-keeping-you-informed/ .
Stop and think this Farm Safety Week
This week marks the 9th annual Farm Safety Week and Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons have met with farmer Derek Robinson whose son came close to losing his life when he was overcome with slurry fumes.
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said: “Since January 2015 there have been 35 fatalities on farms in Northern Ireland and that is just too many. It is vital that we encourage all those working in the farming industry to stop and think about farm safety. By taking some simple precautions we can reduce the number of people killed and injured on our farms.
“As someone who has spent a lifetime working in the farming industry, I am well aware of the satisfaction and joy working on the farm can bring, but I also know that, all too quickly, it can turn into a nightmare if you aren’t careful with your equipment and your surroundings.
“I would encourage everyone to take the time now, to be extra careful and vigilant. It is vital that farmers pause and think about what they are doing before beginning work with livestock, machinery or slurry.”
Farm Safety Week is an awareness raising event that sees the Farm Safety Partnerships, Farm Safety Foundation, Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority Ireland joining forces to drive the fundamental message of safety within the agricultural community home.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons added: “Farm Safety Week is significant in helping to focus attention on farm safety and the measures that can be taken to ensure everyone is kept safe and out of harm’s reach.
“Derek’s story is important in that it highlights the fact that while many farms are work places they are also family homes bringing additional risks and considerations. With school summer holidays upon us it is critical we are even more mindful of children on the farm and ensure all is done to avoid accidents and injury.”
Stay Safe During Hot Weather
The First Minister and deputy First Minister have encouraged everyone to stay safe and look out for others during the current spell of very hot weather.
Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill were speaking after the Met Office issued the first ever warning for extreme heat here.
Executive departments and civil contingency agencies are working to mitigate any potential impacts to health, wellbeing and public services.
First Minister Paul Givan said: “After a difficult time for the whole community, it is understandable that people want to be out and about across Northern Ireland during this period of hot, dry weather. We want everyone to enjoy the sunshine, but it is very important that everyone does it safely.
Extreme heat can have serious consequences for people’s health, public services and the environment. So we ask everyone to take steps to protect themselves. Don’t take risks that could potentially be dangerous for you, your family or the wider community.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We have been experiencing an unprecedented heatwave and temperatures here are set to escalate even further in the coming days. It is vitally important that we all follow the advice that will help to keep everyone safe.
“Of course many people are keen to experience the good weather, but we ask everyone to take care of themselves, and others so that no one comes to any harm as a result of the extreme heat. Please check in on anyone who might be more vulnerable, including older family, friends and neighbours.”
Information and advice for people during the extreme heat warning is available at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/news/extreme-heat-warning-information-and-advice