Uisce Éireann delivers for Donegal by saving 53 million litres of water since 2018

21 February 2023

There is plenty of reason for communities across Donegal to celebrate this year with confirmation from Uisce Éireann that more than 53 million litres of water have been saved from leakage since 2018 due to investment in the county’s water infrastructure. Donegal is the place more than 166,000 people proudly call home and Uisce Éireann is proud of the contribution it continues to make in providing businesses and residents with a safer, more sustainable water supply. 

While the Hills of Donegal are renowned at home and abroad, so too are the county’s magnificent lakes and rivers placing water firmly at the heart of County Donegal. Situated at the very tip of the Wild Atlantic Way, thousands of visitors flock to the county every year to savour Donegal’s rich culture and heritage combined with spectacular mountains, beaches and lakes. Therefore, providing a safe and reliable water supply to all homes and businesses across Donegal is of critical importance. Tourism is a key driver of employment with water being a vital resource to ensure its continued growth and success.

Part of ensuring that safe and reliable drinking water is produced every day in County Donegal, is driving down the amount of clean, treated water lost to leakage.

Working in partnership with Donegal County Council, Uisce Éireann has already replaced more than 150km of old and problematic watermains across the county, which is enough pipe to cover the distance from Malin Head to Bundoran. 

The delivery of the National Leakage Reduction Programme is ensuring security of supply, reducing leakage, and putting sustainable water supply at the heart of the Donegal water network. Donegal has also benefitted from a very high level of infrastructural improvements in water services, receiving vital investments on water and wastewater upgrades throughout the county. Since 2014, the people of Donegal have seen crews from Uisce Éireann working across the county’s five municipal districts, namely Letterkenny, Inishowen, Stranorlar, Donegal and Glenties in collaboration with Donegal County Council.  An enormous amount of work has been carried out by these crews to successfully reduce leakage. One leak discovered and subsequently repaired in Buncrana alone saved more than 500,000 litres of water a day.

Outlining the benefits of the national Leakage Reduction Programme Declan Cawley, Uisce Éireann Regional Lead for Donegal says, “Many of these old and problematic pipes were prone to bursts and high levels of leakage, causing supply challenges for homes and businesses so replacing them with modern pipes reduces the drinking water lost by leakage and brings an all-round improvement to water network for Donegal communities. 

“Since being involved in the Leakage Reduction Programme across County Donegal, I have seen first-hand how efforts to tackle leakage have benefited local residents and businesses. The very real impact of these works has been significant leakage savings and a better, more robust supply of water for the people of Donegal.

Through this national Leakage Reduction Programme we have saved millions of litres of clean drinking water every day in Donegal. Declan adds, “We are making progress but have some road to go. We need communities to work with us to deliver these water conservation activities to provide a more sustainable supply of water across Donegal”.  

Also speaking of the savings, Aisling Quigley, Acting Senior Executive Engineer with the Drinking Water Team, Water Capital Office in Donegal County Council commented “Uisce Éireann and Donegal County Council have worked together to deliver on the programmes targeted at reducing leakage across Donegal.  This was very much a collaborative effort and we have worked seamlessly together to identify the worst performing sections of the network, replacing them and bringing huge benefits to homes and businesses in the local communities. It takes a lot of investigating and planning to repair a leak, so when we find and fix a leak and improve the network it is a great win for everyone.

Other leakage reduction workstreams that are a priority for Donegal include back yard services, Find and Fix and First Fix for Free scheme, all which support to drive down leakage in Donegal. All of these work streams have resulted in a saving of over 53 million litres of clean water every day. 

A strategic programme to replace old back yard water mains and services in Donegal is also underway to reduce leakage and improve water quality. Over 100 back yard services have been replaced across Donegal including Letterkenny, Ballyshannon Milford, with more planned in the months ahead. Uisce Éireann is committed to continuing this work in partnership with Donegal County Council. 

Through these savings, water users have assisted in conserving water which will not only result in significant water savings but will ensure security of supply for Donegal. So, whether it is for brushing your teeth, preparing your dinner, taking your medicine, or just pure refreshment, water is a vital part of our day, and it is imperative we have a reliable and secure water supply for Donegal to serve the communities that depend on it.