The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has continued to offer support to farmers during the water crisis.
Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has outlined her Department’s efforts to offer support to farmers and rural dwellers.
The DARD website has been updated with general advice for farmers on checking premises for leaks as well as specific advice regarding drinking water requirements for livestock, and dairy hygiene.
A DARD telephone Helpline was established on Friday 31st December and was available throughout the weekend and the Bank Holiday. Over 40 enquiries have been received, mostly related to difficulties with limited supplies of drinking water for livestock. All callers were provided with Veterinary or hygiene advice by DARD staff, and in close co-operation with NIWater arrangements were made to resolve all reported problems, with emergency supplies of water being delivered to a number of properties throughout the north.
Staff from the Department also assisted by participating in the NI Water call centre. Staff from DARD’s Rivers Agency visited several hundred farms in South Armagh and East/South Down, Omagh and Fermanagh and helped identify a number of leaks on farms as well as burst pipes on rural roads coming from mains supply. They also helped to deliver bottled water to vulnerable residents in the South Armagh area.
Commenting on the current situation the Minister said, “Farmers and rural dwellers are to be commended for their resilience during this difficult time. Many of the callers to our Helpline reported how friends and neighbours had assisted them to ensure animals on farms had access to drinking water. Hopefully we are over the worst of this now, and I would pay tribute to the staff from my own Department, as well as NI Water, for dealing with a number of urgent cases reported to our Helpline so quickly.
“We cannot of course be complacent, and I would urge farmers to continue to contact NI Water in the first instance regarding water shortages, advising of burst pipes, etc,” she added.
Consumers can contact NI Water’s Customer Services by telephone on 08457440088, textphone on 0845 702 3206, typetalk on 0800 051 5446 or by email on mailto:[email protected]
Farmers can also register any continuing problems by contacting the DARD helpline number on 02890 524999. Advice is also available on the DARD website.