Water down the drain as Obins leak ‘costs taxpayer thousands’

A water leak in the Obins Street area could have been there for as long as 30 years, at a cost of thousands of pounds to the taxpayer, a local councillor has claimed.

Cllr Eamon McNeill, who serves in Armagh but is running for the new ABC council elections in May, first spotted the water on the day of Country Come to Town.

A plumber by trade, the leak caught his attention, and he set about making enquiries with residents and the relevant statutory bodies.

The water, which runs down Craigwell Avenue and into a drain at the junction of Obins Street, is more noticeable on wet days, when it congregates around the drain, but still runs even on dry days.

There is also a small plastic pipe, emerging from the pavement beside the drain, which lets water run into it.

Cllr McNeill, who used a plastic container to roughly measure the water, said, “I have calculated that one litre of water is leaking every seven seconds. Given that a cubic metre of water is metered at £2, that works out at £8,985 per year or, taken at today’s prices, £269,000 over 30 years.

“With the Finance Minister Danny Hamilton this week saying that the health budget could need an extra £86 million if welfare cuts are not implemented, this leakage seems like a shocking waste of money.”

One resident, who lives opposite the drain, said she has to stop her daughter from playing in the water, while another, who has lived in the area for decades, said the situation had been like that for as long as he could remember.

Another man, who has been a resident for 30 years, claimed the water had been flowing all that time. He said, “We’ve had the Water Board out on numerous occasions. They always said it was a natural spring but a couple of weeks ago they came out and put a tablet into the water. Now they are saying it is mains water after all. The government is talking about putting meters in people’s houses but here is water running away that nobody is using.

“It must have cost thousands over the years.”