Living With Water Programme

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) Northern Ireland appointed us as the lead consultant in the development of a Strategic Drainage Infrastructure Plan for the Greater Belfast area.

Intended as an integrated Plan across all relevant Government departments and stakeholders, the core objectives were to:

Protect - Reduce flood risk in compliance with the EU Floods Directive

Enhance - Maintain and achieve EU Compliance by improving the water environment

Grow - Support economic growth by enabling development

We assisted in the technical and sustainable development of the plan by carrying out a Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment.

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Key details

Project name

Living With Water Programme



Department for Infrastructure Northern Ireland



Belfast, Northern Ireland

Services provided:

- Water management

- Wastewater

- Flooding and drainage

- Strategic Environmental Assessment

- Habitats Regulation Assessment


Belfast has experienced several serious flooding events and as the population and tourist numbers continue to grow and climate change causes more intense rainfall, the aging drainage infrastructure continues to come under pressure. The drainage and wastewater treatment infrastructure serving Belfast was nearing capacity and needed significant levels of additional investment to facilitate future growth and development. If not addressed, flooding and pollution could intensify and threaten future development opportunities. To address these issues together, a new integrated approach to drainage and wastewater management was required.

DfI worked collaboratively with the drainage providers and other key stakeholders to develop a new integrated, strategic and sustainable long-term approach to drainage and wastewater management on a catchment basis. This approach combined a range of work by various organisations to make the most out of the opportunities that already exist within Belfast to improve its resilience in terms of flooding as well as growth opportunities.


We assisted DfI in the development of “Living With Water in Belfast – An Integrated Plan for Drainage and Wastewater Management in Greater Belfast”, as part of the larger Living With Water Programme (LWWP) - a multi-agency initiative headed by DfI.

It is anticipated that the LWWP will also develop the template for a Northern Ireland Integrated Drainage Investment Planning Guide and Programme. It was the vision of the LWWP to develop a Plan for Belfast in order to protect against flood risk, enhance the environment and support economic growth, aligned with the principles set out in the NI Executive’s Long Term Water Strategy (LTWS). The Plan makes strategic works proposals and sets out a long-term integrated drainage and wastewater management development strategy for the Greater Belfast Area.

As lead consultant assisting DfI in the development of the Plan over five years, we developed the technical methodology that would provide the most sustainable integrated water management solutions for Belfast. To ensure the solutions proposed were viable, beneficial and sustainable, our Belfast Water Environment and Flood Risk team undertook strategic design, strategic optioneering, hydrological assessment, strategic costing, environmental assessment and multi-criteria analysis of all integrated water management options available to the Plan, at the catchment scale.

We combined the preferred options for each catchment area to form the blueprint for the future, long-term integrated water management development of the Greater Belfast area, incorporating policy, blue/green and hard engineering solutions. Our team assisted DfI in the writing of the draft Plan, consultations for the Plan and undertook Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment to ensure the Plans sustainability and ensure compliance with the relevant European and National environmental legislation.

The final Plan sets out how DfI and the LWWP partners and stakeholders will implement all the solutions, with a total anticipated cost of £1.4 billion.

Project timeline

  • 2016

    Start date

  • 2020

    Draft Plan Consultation

  • 2021

    Final Plan adoption

  • 2021

    Completion date

1 /04

Start date


Draft Plan Consultation


Final Plan adoption


Completion date

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