Cork City

Leakage Reduction Programme | November 2020

Much of Ireland’s water is lost to leaks before it reaches our taps.

Irish Water’s national Leakage Reduction Programme is Fixing leaks around the country to provide a more reliable water supply. This programme of works in County Leitrim is one example of how we are working with our partners to reduce leaks every day.

A collaborative journey

Savings of 5.5 million litres of water a day will support the social and economic development of Cork City.

With estimated population growth of 125,000 in Cork City over the next 20 years, water network improvements and leakage reduction works are now more critical than ever. Working in partnership, Irish Water and Cork City Council identified key issues facing the city water network and the steps required in order to reduce leakage and secure supply for future growth.

High levels of dated, fragile infrastructure and burst prone water mains were a challenge in Cork City, while improvements to the network, including construction of some critical infrastructure, were highlighted as central to achieving target savings.

Following this programme of works, 5.5 million litres of water per day has been saved in Cork City in 2020. Close collaboration with Cork City Council and our regional contractors, Coffey Group and Ward and Burke Construction, has been crucial in achieving these results with interdependent project completion, preliminary works and historical network knowledge proving vital.

Planning a solution for Cork

Investigations by Irish Water and Cork City Council identified the steps required to make inroads into the leakage rates in the water network:

A water mains replacement programme across the city for mains with high rates of leakage was prioritised in areas including the Victorian Quarter, Turners Cross and The Marina. These strategic network infrastructure upgrades facilitated further complementary programmes of works.

A critical project

One example of a critical water network improvement, contributing to direct and indirect leakage savings is the completion of phase 1 of the Eastern Strategic Link (ESL) water main project. The ESL is a trunk water main, bringing supply into Cork City, following a path from the very east of the city at Tivoli, along the quays to the city centre. The project allows for first-time connectivity across the city’s water networks from East to West. Previously only supplied by Lee Road Water Treatment Plant (WTP), the city Water Supply Zone (WSZ) can now be supplied by this WTP and by the WTP to the east.

This new trunk water main ensures a far more robust water supply for businesses and communities across the city. The benefit of this project not only liesin the connectivity it provides but in the additional Leakage Reduction Programme works it enabled and the resulting leakage savings.

Through the completion of this phase of the ESL project, improved DMA structures were made possible, an extensive Find and Fix programme was rolled out and Pressure Management works undertaken across several DMAs in close proximity to the upgraded main.

Engagement and communication on the ground

The planning and delivery of these works in the city centre over a period of time, had a significant impact on residents, businesses and stakeholders. Regular and transparent communication was key in delivering successful projects in Cork City. On high impact projects including the ESL and Water Mains Rehabilitation in the Victorian Quarter, frequent progress updates were provided along with direct engagement with stakeholders. Communicating on time and with notice of planned outages was critical to maintaining trust and confidence on the ground.

Supporting development

Through the works of the Leakage Reduction Programme, the water network is keeping pace with the development of Cork City:

A more robust and easily managed network for Cork City

Improved security of supply to over 210,000 people

Savings of over 5.5 million litres of water per day

“The works and associated savings achieved through the Leakage Reduction Programme in Cork are significant. Excellent collaboration between Irish Water staff and Cork City Council and our regional contractor partners has resulted in these notable savings. From planning through to execution the real impact can now be seen.“

Paul Moroney - Water Networks Programme Manager, Asset Delivery

“The extensive programme delivered across Cork City counts as major progress in tackling leakage and supporting the social and economic development of the city. 5.5 million litres of water per day has been saved through a targeted programme of works to date and we will continue to strive for further savings.“

Steven Blennerhasset - Regional Lead, Leakage Reduction Programme, Asset Delivery