A leak underground can do a lot of damage.

Limerick hurling stars Darragh O'Donovan and Kyle Hayes are known as fierce competitors on the pitch – and have All-Ireland senior medals to prove it. But this summer they have been tackling a very different opponent: water leakage.

This time two years ago, the pair were celebrating Limerick’s first All Ireland senior championship win in 45 years. There is no doubt that they would have been looking forward to mounting a serious challenge for Liam McCarthy in 2020 too, had the unwelcome arrival of COVID-19 not intervened.

Customer engagement surveyors

Instead they have spent the past couple of months knocking on doors around Limerick, Clare and Tipperary encouraging householders to take up a free leak repair scheme being operated by Irish Water.

Darragh and Kyle are working as customer engagement surveyors with Shareridge Ltd, who are contracted to carry out leakage detection and repair on behalf of Irish Water.

Kyle explains: “When a meter read shows high water usage in a house, that can indicate the presence of a leak on the property. This can often be in the front garden and more often than not, the householder is not even aware that it’s there.”

Tackling leakage: Limerick intercounty hurlers Kyle Hayes, left, and Darragh O’Donovan have been working as customer engagement surveyors in counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary with Shareridge Ltd, who are contracted to carry out leakage detection and repair on behalf of Irish Water
Tackling leakage: Limerick intercounty hurlers Kyle Hayes, left, and Darragh O’Donovan have been working as customer engagement surveyors in counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary with Shareridge Ltd, who are contracted to carry out leakage detection and repair on behalf of Irish Water

First Fix Free

When a leak is suspected Irish Water’s First Fix Scheme enables the householder to have a free leak investigation survey undertaken to establish the location of the leak. If a leak is located on an external supply pipe, then the homeowner may be eligible for a free leak repair. Darragh and Kyle’s role is to call to the householder and talk them through what is involved in taking up the free offer.

To date they have been chalking up plenty of success.

Generally, we have received a very positive reaction,” Darragh says. “Once people find out about the leak and realise that they may be able to get it repaired for free they are very receptive. A leak underground can do a lot of damage.”

Leakage of treated water is a big problem in Ireland. Every day almost half of our treated water is lost through leaks before it even reaches our taps. Leaks can be difficult to find because they happen in the vast and complex network of pipes below ground – some of which is located on private property, in front gardens and under driveways. Many of these pipes are now old and damaged and need to be repaired or replaced to improve water quality and supply.

Limerick

In Limerick, Irish Water works with Shareridge Ltd to tackle leakage through a number of different initiatives, including finding and fixing leaks in the public water network, replacing old water mains and lead pipes, and carrying out free leak repairs in private homes and garden.

Despite the challenges, progress is being made; thanks to the work being done through the First Fix scheme and other initiatives, Irish Water is succeeding in reducing leakage all around the country.

While it is not surprising that having an All-Ireland winning inter-county hurler turning up on your doorstep goes down well in Limerick, what’s it like in the neighbouring – and rival – counties?

It’s generally very good. People don’t make the connection as much in Clare or Tipp but when they do you might get a bit of slagging - especially from the Clare people - but we have a good bit of banter,” Kyle says.

It’s a great way to see the countryside,” Darragh adds. “And you get to meet some great characters – it’s a bit of craic”.

Find out more

The good news is that you don’t need to be a champion hurler to tackle leakage. You don’t even have to wait for one to knock on your door. If you think you may have a leak on your property, details of how to register for the First Fix Free scheme can be found on on our website at https://www.water.ie/for-home/first-fix/ or by calling the customer care team at 1850 278 278.

Clare, Limerick, Tipperary

Back to the top