Critical century-old pipeline being replaced to safeguard supply for 80,000 customers

16 September 2022

Over 80,000 Dubliners will benefit from a more sustainable and secure water supply

Over 80,000 Dubliners will benefit from a more sustainable and secure water supply as a result of a major Irish Water project to replace a century-old pipeline in the Sandymount area.

Irish Water, working with Dublin City Council, had identified this major arterial pipeline, which runs along Beach Road and Strand Road in Sandymount, as needing full replacement due to its age and deteriorating condition. Works are due to commence in late September.

The project is part of a wider strategic approach to managing the water supply across the city, reducing leakage, and ensuring a safer, more reliable supply for homes and businesses.

Also known as trunk mains, arterial water mains are often described as the 'motorways' of the water network, carrying a significant amount of water at high pressure to supply large numbers of homes and businesses.

Leakage in these pipes can lead to large volumes of treated water being lost, and in this case the age of the pipe has been found to be a big factor in high leakage rates in the area. In addition, when an arterial water main bursts it can cause temporary loss of supply for thousands of customers as well as potential damage to homes and businesses, and major traffic disruption due to the complex repairs needed.

Matthew Thomson, Irish Water Leakage Reduction Programme regional delivery lead, said: “Out of almost 10,000km of pipeline in the Dublin region, nearly 800km were installed before 1930, and almost 1,000km were laid before 1940.

“This section of pipeline was constructed almost 100 years ago and is in very poor condition, running underneath Beach and Strand Road and servicing the eastern part of Dublin City. Over the last decade, the instances of this pipe bursting and leaking have increased due to its fragile and deteriorating condition, causing major operational challenges to limit supply disruption and undertake complex repairs

“We are delighted to announce this major investment through the Leakage Reduction Programme which will alleviate these issues and bring this critical part of Dublin’s water network into the 21st century.

“We are acutely aware that upgrades to our critical infrastructure can be disruptive to the local community and road users and so we are using innovative and modern engineering techniques to reduce the impact of the works. Based on previous experiences, we know that the short-term inconvenience will be overshadowed by the long-term benefits that the new pipeline will deliver.

On behalf of Irish Water, I would like to thank the local community who have engaged closely with us and have shown great understanding of the need to carry out this essential work.”

Stephen Burke, Senior Engineer with Dublin City Council, added: “This is a complex project that will involve working around a myriad of underground services such as gas, telecoms and electricity. Isolating a trunk main for upgrade work presents a significant challenge in maintaining supply to the city. To that end, over the last few years, Dublin City Council and Irish Water have been undertaking major upgrades at strategic trunk main control points. These upgrades improve our ability to divert water around the main in question to facilitate the planned network enhancements.

We are confident that the detailed planning and preparations we have carried out will enable our experienced water services personnel to maintain normal water supplies to all homes and businesses.”

To complete the works safely and efficiently, Strand Road is to be limited to northbound traffic with southbound traffic following a signposted diversion for the duration of the works. Works are expected to be complete by early Summer 2023. 

The Irish Water customer care helpline is open 24/7 on 1800 278 278 and customers can also contact us on Twitter @IWCare with any queries. For updates please visit our Water Supply Updates section for traffic management updates throughout the phases of this project.