Irish Water has today published its Proposed Capital Investment Plan for 2014 to 2016. Investment is prioritised where it can deliver the most urgently needed improvements in drinking water quality, leakage, water availability, wastewater compliance, efficiencies and customer service. It is proposed to deliver/progress over 380 projects under the Plan which has been submitted to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) for consideration.

Irish Water estimates that €1.77 billion will be required to deliver on the objectives of the 2014-2016 Capital Investment Plan (CIP). The current indicative funding available to Irish Water is €1.2bn which includes the additional €200m announced by the Government last week. This brings funding up from current levels of €310m in 2014 to €410m in 2015 and 2016.

The Plan involves a rolling programme so should there be a funding shortfall it can roll over into 2017 but every effort will be made to reduce the gap by avoiding/reducing cost through its asset management approach and by seeking to raise additional funding.

Irish Water priorities for delivery under the Capital Investment Plan include;

1. Eliminating Boil Water Notices in Roscommon
2. Providing more water and in particular reducing disruption to supply in the Dublin area
3. Improving Water Quality
4. Investing for economic development
5. Tackling leakage
6. Increasing wastewater treatment capacity and improving environmental compliance
7. Better Control and Monitoring
8. Improving existing plants

John Tierney, Managing Director of Irish Water, commented, “Our approach to capital investment will ensure that we deliver improvements where they are needed most. The Plan sets out the programme of water and waste water projects that we believe are urgently required to improve the service to our customers. A number of the projects in the Capital Investment Plan have already commenced. However 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.”

Some examples of the types of improvement the Irish Water Capital Investment Plan will deliver include:

1. Eliminating Boil Water Notices in Roscommon:
Irish Water is prioritising drinking water quality and aims to lift the majority of all long-term Boil Water Notices in Roscommon in early 2015.

2. Provision of more water and reducing disruption to supply in the Dublin area
By investing in the completion of the work to existing treatment plants at Ballymore Eustace and Leixlip, an extra 60 million litres of water a day will be supplied to Dublin – the equivalent of a new treatment plant. Irish Water will also increase the interconnectivity between Ballymore Eustace and Leixlip, thereby minimising future water disruptions to the Greater Dublin Area by allowing homes and businesses access to more than one source of water.

3. 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 e.g. Letterkenny in Donegal, Kerry Central and Burncourt/Fethard in Tipperary.

4. Investing for Economic Development
Additional water supplies will facilitate industrial, commercial and housing developments – developments which may have been delayed in recent times due to restricted water and wastewater services infrastructure. For example – 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.

5. Tackling Leaks
Irish Water is proposing to spend €150 million to accelerate leakage reduction and is moving to a much more proactive approach on leakage, with the long-term objective of reducing public and customer side leakage nationally by 50%.

€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. This is estimated to yield a saving of 40 million litres of water every day which can be put to more productive use in the system.

6. Improvement in Wastewater Treatment
Irish Water will significantly improve wastewater compliance for an estimated 400,000 population equivalent (as identified by the EPA in their ‘Focus on Urban Waste Water Treatment in 2010’ as having inadequate or no waste water treatment).

Irish Water is also progressing the upgrade of the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant as an urgent priority. This will provide additional wastewater treatment capacity to enable on-going development and employment creation in the Dublin Region. It will support 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.

7. Better Control and Monitoring
Irish Water will focus on reducing the running costs of providing water services. The company will invest 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% of the population.

8. Improve Existing Plants
Irish Water will invest over €100 million in much-needed targeted upgrades to plants around the country to improve performance, environmental compliance, health & safety and energy efficiency.

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