§ Mr. Sumberg
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what quantity of water is abstracted by his Department each day from Lough Neagh; and what effect it has on the water level in the lough and on the flow to the lower River Bann.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
Water taken from the lough has no material effect on either the level of the lough or the flow to the lower Bann.
The top 25 millimetres (inch) of the lough contain some 9,500 million litres—2,000 million gallons—of water, which is equivalent to about 75 days' supply at peak demand.
The flow from the lough to the lower Bann averages some 8,000 million litres—1,750 million gallons—a day, or some 65 times the net amount abstracted for the public water supply.
The water service of the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland currently abstracts up to 220 million litres—48 million gallons—a day from Lough Neagh.
Some 96 million litres—21 million gallons—is returned to the lough after use and treatment. The result is a net export of some 124 million litres—27 million gallons—a day.