Despite the fact that more than one-third of all treated water supplied to the Dublin area is wasted every single day, Irish Water is to press ahead with plans for a massive €1.3 billion project to extract water from the Parteen Basin in Co. Clare.
The State-owned company has announced that it will seek planning permission to abstract water from the lower River Shannon for treatment at nearby Birdhill.
The treated water will then be piped 170 kilometres to a reservoir at Peamount in South Dublin and connected to the Greater Dublin network.
Irish Water was established five years ago by Government as a state-owned company and has still not resolved the leaking of 658 million litres of water per day in the Dublin area.
In 2011, when the Government was trying to compel households to pay for their supply, Environment Minister Phil Hogan had strongly advocated “controlling the use of water because it was a finite resource.”
A very effective public campaign prevented the Government from proceeding with what many viewed as yet another austerity tax.
During the campaign, it was argued that the utility company wanted the money to subsidise its plans to rebuild Dublin’s leaking infrastructure.
Corporate lawyer Emma Kennedy, whose family farms in Tipperary, opposes Irish Water’s grand plan for Dublin.
In an article published by AgriLand.ie, Ms Kennedy claimed that Irish Water has been dismissive of the need to replace Dublin’s water infrastructure.
Noting that the company stated that “it would not be possible to fix all of the leaks in the network, Ms Kennedy said: “This is misleading. Nobody is suggesting that Irish Water could fix all of Dublin’s leaks.
“The point is that if Dublin had normal leakage levels; it would have a huge spare capacity of extra water available every day.”
Kennedy emphasises, “Dublin’s problem is not a lack of water – only around 43% of the water put into Dublin’s water supply system every day is actually used. Dublin’s problem is its water pipes.”
Seamus Morris, an independent councillor representing Nenagh and a member of the River Shannon Protection Alliance, is critical of the stance taken by Irish water.
“It beggars belief,” he said, “that they would inflict this sort of economic terrorism on the State, whereas what they should have been doing over the last 20 years was fixing the pipes.”