Good news for water quality as over 790,000 people removed from list of vulnerable supplies in the last year

02 February 2022

The number of customers served by vulnerable water supplies has reached it its lowest ever level due to the ongoing progress being made by Irish Water in improving water quality and addressing long-standing issues with Ireland’s water supplies.

The EPA this week updated its Remedial Action List, confirming the removal of seven supplies served by the new Vartry Water Supply Scheme from the list; these supplies serve a combined population of 127,000 people in Wicklow and South Dublin who are now benefiting from a safer more secure water supply following a €150m upgrade of the scheme. The EPA also confirmed the removal of the Abbeyleix supply in Co. Laois following works to address Cryptosporidium risk, and the removal of Leap and Schull supplies in Co. Cork following works to address THM (trihalomethane) risk. Overall, 16 supplies have been removed from the list in the past year, benefiting over 790,000 customers.

Katherine Walshe, Irish Water’s Head of Environmental Regulation said: “Irish Water is committed to ensuring that all our customers have safe, clean drinking water. This is a significant challenge due to decades of under-investment in our water infrastructure, but we are making steady progress, with 790,000 people in 16 water supplies removed from the Remedial Action List in the past year. The number of customers nationwide on the Remedial Action List is now at its lower ever level. We are working in partnership with Local Authorities to address issues with the supplies which remain on the list to bring them to a standard where the EPA determines that they can be removed.

The Remedial Action List identifies drinking water supplies that are at risk of failing to consistently supply safe, clean drinking water. For those supplies remaining on the list, Irish Water has put action plans in place to address these issues – many of which are the legacy of decades of under-investment in Ireland’s public water infrastructure. 

The presence of a supply on the Remedial Action List does not mean the water is unsafe to drink. In fact, over 99.7% of supplies remain safe to drink and do not present any risk to health. Where drinking water quality deficiencies are found due to Irish Water’s improved testing and sampling regime, a Boil Water Notice or Do Not Consume notice may be issued to protect public health.

As a single national utility Irish Water has been able to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of Ireland’s drinking water treatment plants and focus investment where the risk to our customers is highest. Nationally Irish Water plans to invest €5.2 billion in drinking water and wastewater quality and capacity and new infrastructure between 2020 and 2024. Significant improvements in water quality are being achieved year on year by this approach right across the country.