As population and commerce continues to grow in greater Belfast and across the country and as climate change produces more intense rainfall events, then our ageing drainage infrastructure will continue to come under pressure. Constraints in investment over the past 20 years have led to many parts of the wastewater and drainage infrastructure, in particular the infrastructure serving greater Belfast, having to operate at or over design capacity.
Signs that the drainage systems and treatment works are becoming increasingly overwhelmed and failing include:
- some constraints on new housing and business development;
- more regular instances of flooding;
- increased sewage spills and pollution; and
- increased frequency of sewer collapses and blockages.
The graphic below illustrates some of the current drainage problems that exist and that will continue to escalate if we do not invest in our drainage and wastewater infrastructure.