NI Water assessing reservoir for development prior to sell off

editorial image

Northern Ireland Water has confirmed it’s assessing the old Killea reservoir for development and recreational potential before selling it off on the private market.

The old Water Service impounding reservoir at Crevagh Hill lake between Londonderry and Killea is among several being sold off by the state-owned utility firm.

A spokesperson for the company told the Sentinel the lake, which is dissected by the international border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, is no longer operational and will be sold if a private buyer can be found.

“The following reservoirs in the North West are no longer in operational use and are surplus to NI Water’s requirements: Ballyversall, Coleraine; Dunalis, Coleraine; Killea, Londonderry

“These sites will be assessed for development and recreational potential, and advertised on the private market accordingly,” the spokesperson confirmed to the paper.

Water Minister Danny Kennedy said the Government-owned company has a responsibility to sell off the publicly-owned assets if they are redundant and no longer supplying householders with water.

“In accordance with the terms of Northern Ireland Water’s operating licence, it has an obligation to dispose of assets that are no longer of use. Twenty-five reservoirs have been identified for potential disposal during the current financial year, and these are detailed in the annual land disposal return for 2015-16, which was submitted to the Utility Regulator on April 1, 2015,” he said.

“Northern Ireland Water appreciates the potential for local community use through continued public ownership and agreed, in the first instance, to offer these reservoirs to the public sector to determine any expressions of interest, prior to advertising them for sale on the open market.

“Expressions of interest were invited from the public sector during 2014, in accordance with the Department of Finance and Personnel’s ‘Disposal of Surplus Public Sector Property in Northern Ireland’ guidance document,” he added.

The Minister said expressions of interest were received from local councils for three reservoirs in Counties Tyrone and Down and that NI Water hoped that the ownership of these assets could be transferred to the councils within the current financial year.

Following an active marketing exercise last year NI Water also agreed the sale of reservoirs in Belfast and Portrush to private purchasers. There was no public-sector interest.

“The remaining impounding reservoir sites will be assessed for development and recreational potential and advertised on the public market accordingly,” said Mr Kennedy.

A recent Rivers Agency report said the Killea reservoir was constructed around 1849 by the then Londonderry Corporation in order to supply water to the city.

It also reported there were no environmental designations recorded within the vicinity of the reservoir nor where there any promoted leisure activities.