Upgrades to Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme unveiled

04 March 2022

The sun shone brightly this morning in West Cork, adding to the air of optimism amongst those who gathered at the Ballyhilty Water Treatment Plant just outside Skibbereen. A momentous occasion for the community and businesses of Skibbereen and its environs as Irish Water, and Cork County Council, unveiled the completion of an upgrade to the Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme.

The scheme’s upgrade is one of the longest water projects geographically in the country. It included the provision of over 35km of new water mains and associated pumping stations, enhanced treatment facilities at both Ballyhilty Water Treatment Plant and Lake Cross which is also located near Skibbereen.

The efficiency of the project meant the rationalisation of vulnerable sources and inadequate treatment facilities at Leap (Ballinlough WTP), Schull (Skeagh WTP) and Drimoleague and has facilitated the removal of the Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme from the EPA’s Remedial Action List.

Eamon Gallen, Irish Water’s Chief Operations Officer said;

It’s great to be here in Ballyhilty this morning. This is a significant investment of €28m by Irish Water that provides a safe, secure and reliable supply of drinking water to over 10,000 people in the region and addresses risks to water quality by providing enhanced treatment facilities at both Ballyhilty Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and Lake Cross WTP.

Public health is Irish Water’s number one priority; therefore, we are delighted to see the removal of the Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme from the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL) on completion of this project. In addition to that, this scheme will go a long way to supporting social and economic development in this region of West Cork. I would like to thank our colleagues in Cork County Council and EPS Group LTD. for their work on the project.

Seán Twohig is Irish Water’s Capital Programme Regional Lead;

This was a very interesting and complex project to work on due to the vast area that needed to be covered. We have over 35km of water mains that were upgraded and the pumping stations that are associated with those, not to mention the treatment plants at Ballyhilty and Lake Cross that were also upgraded. Sherkin Island, Schull, Leap, Castledonovan and Skibbereen itself have been included in the scope of the works and now homes and businesses in these areas will benefit from it. We tried to minimise the disruption to the communities and businesses as much as possible during the works, and I would like to thank them all for their patience and cooperation.

While Mayor Gillian Coughlan had committed to a prior engagement, she welcomed the project saying;

I warmly welcome the official opening of the Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme. This project, delivered by Irish Water in partnership with Cork County Council, will support the council’s plans for growth in Skibbereen as a key town in West Cork and will also provide improved water quality for the surrounding region including Schull, Drimoleague and Leap.

The Skibbereen Regional Water Supply Scheme has been welcomed by the tourism and hospitality sector which has previously outlined the importance of a robust water supply in the region.

Louise O’Donovan, the General Manager of The Eldon Hotel said;

A reliable water supply is crucial for us and all businesses in the area. To know that we can make sure our customers can have the best service we can offer including a clean, safe water supply is fantastic. We welcome the completion of the Irish Water project and hope that it will allow all businesses to prosper and grow in Skibbereen and its surrounding areas.

Irish Water is responsible for the delivery of all public water and wastewater services in Ireland. We are committed to continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure to support the growth needed in housing and across our economy, while protecting the environment and safeguarding water supplies.