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Irish Water's €1.77bn plan to make Ireland's water services better

Irish Water will invest €1.77 billion to deliver improvements to Ireland’s water services.
May 13th 2014, 6:15 AM 7,481 32

IRISH WATER PLANS to invest €1.77 billion in delivering improvements to water services around Ireland.

In its proposed Capital Investment Plan for 2014 to 2016, which it published today, it says that it has prioritised investment to where it can “deliver the most urgently needed improvements” in drinking water quality, leakage, water availability, wastewater compliance, efficiencies and customer service.

It proposes to deliver or progress over 380 projects under the plan, which has been submitted to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) for consideration.

The plan

Irish Water said that the current funding available to it is €1.2 billion, which includes the additional €200 million announced by the Government last week.

It will “explore all options to bridge this gap in funding”.

Its  priorities for delivery under the Capital Investment Plan include:

  • Eliminating the majority of long-term boil water notices in Roscommon

This will be done by early 2015.

  • Providing more water and in particular reducing disruption to supply in the Dublin area

Investing in the completing the work on treatment plants at Ballymore Eustace and Leixlip, to supply an extra 60 million litres of water a day to Dublin – the equivalent of a new treatment plant. Increasing the interconnectivity between Ballymore Eustace and Leixlip, to minimise future water disruptions to the greater Dublin area.

  • Improving water quality

A number of schemes which have inadequate water treatment systems are being delivered/progressed in order to ensure they meet water quality standards, eg Letterkenny in Donegal, Kerry Central and Burncourt/Fethard in Tipperary.

  • Investing for economic development

Additional water supplies will facilitate industrial, commercial and housing developments. Eg: the investment proposed by Irish Water to supply water and wastewater infrastructure for the Docklands Strategic Development Zone in Dublin “will be critical to facilitate the creation of 30,000 jobs in this area”.

  • Tackling leakage

Spening €150 million to accelerate leakage reduction and moving to a much more proactive approach on leakage. The long-term objective is reducing public and customer side leakage nationally by 50 per cent.

€51 million will be available as a result of the Government announcement last week to assist home owners to fix leaks which may occur on their own property.

  • Increasing wastewater treatment capacity and improving environmental compliance

Significantly improving wastewater compliance for an estimated 400,000 population equivalent. Progressing the upgrade of the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant as an urgent priority. Supporting the on-going investment in water quality improvement in the Lower Liffey Estuary and Dublin Bay. An alternative project strategy developed by Irish Water in conjunction with Dublin City Council is expected to result in capital cost savings in the order of €170 million.

  • Improving existing plants

Investing over €100 million in much-needed targeted upgrades to plants around the country.

  • Better control and monitoring

Focusing on reducing the running costs of providing water services. Investing in a modern telemetry system to ensure that adequate control, monitoring and alarm systems are in place to allow for early detection of any issues and to target where key investment is needed. By the end of 2016, Irish Water will have the core systems in place to monitor water and wastewater systems serving approximately 80 per cent of the population.

John Tierney, Managing Director of Irish Water, said that Irish Water is introducing a new approach involving comprehensive asset management:

 We will look at every opportunity to extend the life of an asset where we can improve performance and at the same time reduce the level of major capital investment – thereby providing better value for the customer and ensuring we can deliver more with limited resources.

The full capital investment plan can be read here. The Appendix 1 can be read here.

 Read: Water meter protests continue, one woman ‘injured’ in Dublin stand-off>

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Aoife Barry

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