herald

Thursday 24 May 2018

Taking water from Shannon to capital 'will cost €13m per year'

Irish Water hopes to extract water from the River Shannon
Irish Water hopes to extract water from the River Shannon

Pumping water from the River Shannon to serve Dublin and midland counties will cost €13m every year, Irish Water says.

The cost of extracting 330 million litres of water a day from the River Shannon, before pumping it 170km across the country, will be €325m over 25 years, the utility said, compared with €953m if sea water was used to produce a new supply.

The figures come as the Dail Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government meets today to discuss the €1.3bn supply project, which is designed to improve headroom in the network.

It aims to prevent the cut-offs seen across large parts of the capital during Storm Emma in March, and during the Web Summit in recent years.

However, there are concerns from landowners as to the impact the project will have on their businesses, coupled with concerns around water levels in the River Shannon.

Groups opposed to the project said Irish Water should focus on reducing leakage and replacing antiquated mains pipes, which would bolster the system and avoid the need to extract from the Shannon.

They accused the utility of being "disingenuous", adding a "balanced and informed" critique of the project was needed to avoid "sheer wastage" of public money.

Blended

Concerns have also been raised that areas of the capital that currently have "soft" water could find themselves with "harder" water, which can affect heating elements in showers, washing machines and kettles.

A spokeswoman for Irish Water said the Shannon water would be "blended" with existing supplies in Dublin, adding that hardness was a characteristic of much of the country's supply.

Water from the Liffey, which supplies almost 200 million litres a day to the city, shared similar characteristics to that in the Shannon, they added.

Committee chair, Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey, said concerns would be highlighted while taking account of the need to provide sufficient water for the capital and midlands.

Irish Water said unless the project goes ahead, shortages will arise from 2025 as the economy grows and population expands, with Dublin, Mullingar and Ashbourne among the areas facing supply issues.

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