herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Irish Water to hire IT consultants for new leak database

John Tierney
John Tierney

Irish Water has issued a tender notice for the provision of a National Leakage Management System which could see more money being spent on external consultants.

The controversial utility company is currently advertising the contract, which will see a consultant put in charge of a database that aims to record, analyse and prioritise water leaks around the country.

The e-tender states that the core requirement is to supply and implement a leakage calculation and reporting system that will "prioritise areas for leakage reduction".

CONCERNS

The National Leakage Management System will allow Irish Water to determine water waste levels across the country.

However, the utilities company has previously said that the reading of water meters can identify leaks, with 30,000 detected on the provisional inspection of meters in March.

Independent TD Catherine Murphy raised concerns over the database, saying that priorities should lie with replacing worn out pipes rather than using money to hire IT consultants.

"We should be spending money fixing pipes that have been there since the Victorian times, that are well over 150 years old.

"We're spending money on everything bar the pipes, and in an ideal world it would be great to have a lovely system that captures every glass of water lost, but it's simply not realistic," Ms Murphy said.

Independent TD Finian McGrath described the proposed contract as "disgraceful", adding that the database would be "another mess".

"Here we are again wasting more money on an unnecessary service, and it will be another mess from Irish Water," he said.

It was previously revealed that Irish Water would spend in the region of €50m on external consultants.

Irish Water failed to respond when asked if the contract offered for the leakage system database was incorporated with this figure, or if it was an additional cost.

Last year the company's managing director John Tierney stated that the total set-up cost for Irish Water would be in the region of €180m.

The contract offers a one-year implementation period for the Leakage Management System, with a support and maintenance period of up to five further years.

This can be extended to a further five years under a Service Level Agreement.

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