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Water Supply

Cabinet approves next step in plan to use River Shannon to boost country's water supply

The scheme aims to be a new water supply for the Eastern and Midlands region.

CABINET HAS SIGNED off on Uisce Éireann proceeding with a planning application as part of moves to increase water supply by piping water from the River Shannon to a reservoir in Dublin.

The utility recently raised concerns that the River Liffey is supplying 85% of the water requirements for 1.7 million people across four counties in the Greater Dublin Area. 

In a recent Oireachtas committee meeting, its chief executive Niall Gleeson said that a new water source was urgently needed. 

Uisce Eireann said the plan to supply water from the Shannon is a “critical national infrastructure project” that will provide a “sustainable climate proof solution up to 2044 and beyond”.

It is envisaged the project will have the capacity to support water supply needs of up to half of Ireland’s population.   

The plan will see connections for areas in north Tipperary, Offaly and Westmeath and will also facilitate the redirection of water currently supplying Dublin to Louth, Meath, Kildare, Carlow and Wicklow.

The memo being brought to Cabinet by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien today is seeking approval to proceed at Approval Gate 1 under the infrastructure guidelines, which means Úisce Éireann will be allowed to proceed to planning and submit an application to An Bord Pleanála next year. 

The project will go out to public consultation, but Glesson has said he expects there will be significant judicial challenges to the project even after it is given planning approval.

The plan is for the project to be delivering water by 2032, but with objections, those plans could be pushed out by two years. 

Uisce Eireann says the project proposes to abstract 2% of the average flow of the River Shannon.

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