Leakage Reduction Programme | January 2021
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.
Supporting a thriving economy
Irish Water, in partnership with Galway City and County Councils and Farrans Construction, has been working in Galway since 2017 delivering key work streams, as part of the Leakage Reduction Programme. To date, the water savings have been significant, with 24,730,000 litres of water saved per day. This is the same amount of water as the average daily use of almost 200,000 people.
Galway’s water distribution system is one of the oldest in the country. It experiences a high level of leakage and contains a substantial number of old lead service pipes and problematic watermains. Irish Water has been working with its partners to improve Galway’s water infrastructure, resulting in a more resilient water supply to support Galway’s economy now and into the future.
Collaborating for Success
The scale of the work undertaken across Galway saw a number of the leakage reduction work streams rolled out across the county over the period, as outlined:
In particular, the rehabilitation of 28km of water mains across Galway City and County has resulted in savings of over 3 million litres of water a day. These locations included:
In addition, Find and Fix works, which involve detecting leaks and carrying out repairs, resulted in over 15 million litres of water per day being saved.
Alongside Backyard Services, First Fix Free scheme and Pressure Management, these workstreams have provided many benefits to the local community, ensuring the provision of a more reliable water supply and reduction in the high levels of leakage across Galway.
Challenges in delivering the works
The scope of works across different locations and workstreams presented many challenges. This included traffic management as a result of road closures; inclement weather; construction noise; unplanned outages causing disruption to supply; and operational issues. In 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic also impacted the delivery of works.
However, each challenge was successfully tackled through the collaborative and strategic approach taken by Irish Water, the Regional Contractor and Galway City and County Councils.
“As a result of the collaborative work between Irish Water and Galway County Council, local communities across the county are enjoying a more secure and reliable water supply. Fixing leaks can be complicated with over 63,000km of water pipe in Ireland. Most leaks aren’t visible, resulting in precious water being lost but we are making progress and efforts to reduce leakage are continuing through the Leakage Reduction Programme. We remain committed to successfully delivering this programme of works and improving the overall water supply in County Galway.“
Michael Timmins - Senior Engineer, Galway County Council
Engaging with the local community
As a long-term project across an entire county, strategic engagement and communication with key stakeholders was key to support the delivery of works and minimise disruption.
The Project Team ensured local communities impacted were notified in advance of planned works in their areas and worked closely with businesses to minimise any potential disruption. They worked with Galway City and County Council on traffic management requirements while the works were underway. Communicating openly with stakeholders and the local community on time and with notice of planned outages, was critical to maintaining trust and confidence throughout the project and ensuring successful delivery of the works.
Supporting development in Galway
Through the collaborative work of Irish Water and Galway City and County Councils, the Leakage Reduction Programme has had many benefits for the area.
“The works we have undertaken in Galway to date have been significant and efforts to tackle leakage through the different types of work streams have resulted in savings of 24,730,000 litres of water per day. This achievement is a fitting testament to the collaborative effort between Irish Water, our Regional Contractors and working in close partnership with Galway City and County Council. Working together we have had a positive impact on leakage and the daily lives of our customers across Galway.“
Dave Murphy - Network Programme Regional Lead