THE latest downpours on Wednesday, August 15 brought more chaos to parts of east Belfast.
Within 15 minutes storm drains failed once again, resulting in loose manhole covers, human waste on the streets and other dangers to public safety and traffic.
It is scandalous that while the Department for Regional Development plans to waste £330 million on the A5 road, which is neither needed nor wanted, it cannot prevent regular scenes of squalor in east Belfast, which would shame the third world.
We have known for many, many years that Northern Ireland’s water and sewage system needs urgent investment.
Yet the Executive has utterly failed to develop a plan which can deliver that investment.
As a priority DRD needs to find money to invest in infrastructure now, diverting it from other projects and departments if needs be, before new housing developments put even more strain on the existing system, particularly in areas like east Belfast.
An update to the storm drain at Sydenham was promised but not delivered by NIW.
The Executive must explore a credible and fair means of charging for water so that improvements to our water service are sustainable. It also needs to consider models like privatisation and mutualisation, which have been successful in Great Britain, if NIW is to be fit for purpose into the future.
The inaction and excuses of DRD and the wider Executive have subjected the people of east Belfast and elsewhere to the misery of flooding for far too long. The Executive needs to start delivering solutions right now.