Irish Water has today published a report which sets out the pressing need for a new water supply source for the Eastern and Midlands Region of the country. The report identifies that projected demand for water in Dublin alone is expected to increase by over 50% by 2050. This is well beyond the capacity of the existing sources which serve the region. The report draws on extensive independent expert research and recommendations in relation to population projections and economic forecasting (2015-2050) and it concludes that a new water supply source is needed for Irish Water’s Eastern and Midlands Region. This finding is based around six key issues:

  • Ireland has failed to adequately invest in its major water supply infrastructure for over half a century.
  • The need for comprehensive action to be taken to address future water supply needs, both in Dublin and its surrounding region, has long been recognised since the mid-1990s.
  • Essential water savings from conservation programmes and leakage reductions will not deliver the quantities of water needed to meet future requirements.
  • Ireland’s economic future is heavily dependent on a resilient, adequate and sustainable water supply.
  • Not fully implementing the proposed Water Supply Project carries a very high risk of increasing outage disruptions, shortages and ultimately water rationing.
  • Water shortages can result in high disruption costs for businesses and domestic water users – recent outages in Dublin (2010-2014) typically cost the Irish economy in excess of €78m per day. 

Independent research
Irish Water’s ‘Project Need Report’ is supported and informed by three independent specialist studies;
(a) Demographic Report
(b) Economist Report
(c) Water Demand Review

These independent specialist studies provide population projections, sourced from Central Statistics Office data, on different scenarios related to forecast economic growth, fertility and migration. They examine each component of water demand, including per capita consumption, domestic demand, non-domestic demand, operational use and both the household-side and network-side leakage. Non-domestic demand, which is water used in business and industry, is analysed and growth is projected by sector. Trends on reducing per capita consumption and reducing intensity of industrial water use are incorporated in projections.

The Report concludes that, even after fully using the available water supply from the existing sources, and even with a parallel drive on water conservation and leakage control, there will still be significant additional water required. It is expected that 215 million litres per day* in excess of existing capacity will be needed by 2050 for the Dublin Region alone. This figure rises to 330 million litres per day when the surrounding region is included. Improvements to and maintenance of the existing water supply system, will not meet that level of need. A new source must be developed and utilised.

*1 million litres is approximately equal to a 50m swimming pool.

Public Consultation
Following today’s publication of the Project Need Report, Irish Water is now undertaking an 8 week consultation process. It will begin today 10 March 2015 and conclude on 05 May 2015.
The consultation process will cover:

  • The ‘Need’ for the Water Supply Project (Eastern / Midlands Region) – outlined in the ‘Project Need Report’.
  • The proposed ‘Roadmap ‘for the next steps in the WSP planning process which outlines how a preferred new supply option would be selected and the public consultation milestones involved in that process.

Feedback for the consultation process will be obtained through a combination of stakeholder meetings and an invitation for all interested parties to contribute either by email to watersupply@water.ie or by post to Water Supply Project, Merrion House, Merrion Road, Dublin 4.

The Project Need Report (and Roadmap) is available to view in County Libraries and at Planning Counters within the project study area and can be downloaded from www.watersupplyproject.ie. Further information can also be made available by calling 1890 252 848.

All relevant issues raised from this consultation will be reviewed and considered as part of the next phase of the process which will result in an Options Working Paper (new Supply Options) due for publication and consultation later in Q2, 2015.

It is intended that, having taken into account feedback from the consultation process a preferred option for meeting the water supply needs of the region will be agreed and submitted to An Bord Pleanála for planning approval in 2017.

Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Limerick, Offaly, Roscommon, Westmeath

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