Water supply project
The preferred scheme for a new water supply for the Eastern and Midlands region
What is involved
Irish Water has a remit to deliver secure, reliable and sustainable long-term water supplies which facilitate domestic and economic development.
Extensive research work and public consultations undertaken by Irish Water, and previously by Dublin City Council, have concluded definitively that existing water supply sources do not have the capacity or resilience to meet future requirements of homes and businesses in Dublin and the midlands.
Irish Water has published a report summarising feedback from the latest consultation on the preferred scheme for the Water Supply Project, Eastern and Midlands Region (WSP) that will deliver a secure, reliable and sustainable long-term water supply for the region for future decades and generations.
Over 1,000 stakeholders participated in the last consultation stage on the preferred scheme, which ran for fourteen weeks from 8 November 2016 to 14 February 2017. All feedback received has been considered and responded to in the Consultation Submissions Report, which is available on the project website www.watersupplyproject.ie.
In the preparation of the Consultation Submissions Report, Irish Water has reviewed all relevant new data available since the original Project Need Report was published in March 2015. This takes full account of the Census 2016 data, National Planning Framework, the forthcoming draft Irish Water National Water Resources Plan, and the recently published River Basin Management Plan. The forecasted population and economic growth within the region will generate a demand for an additional 330 million litres of water per day by 2050. Irish Water’s review has confirmed definitively that existing water supply sources do not have the capacity or resilience to meet future requirements of homes and businesses in the Dublin area and the rest of the Eastern and Midlands region.
Moving towards a final decision – what happens next?
Irish Water is continuing to progress the preparation of a planning application that will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála in 2019.
The recently published River Basin Management Plan outlines the government’s intentions for implementation of the water abstraction obligations of the Water Framework Directive. New legislation to be introduced in 2018 will establish the Water Abstraction Registration and Licensing Authority. As a result of the proposals contained within the River Basin Management Plan, the WSP project in addition to the planning application to An Bord Pleanála, will also be required to make an application for an abstraction licence.
All potential impacts of the scheme, including abstraction, will be addressed in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and the Natura Impact Statement, which are currently being prepared and will accompany Irish Water’s planning application to An Bord Pleanála for their independent assessment.
The Preferred Scheme
Irish Water has sought, listened to and responded to public feedback at every stage of the project's development, from assessing the need right through to identifying the preferred scheme. All research, assessments and public consultations have been undertaken in line with international best practice for the identification of need and determination of options. Feedback received during each consultation has been summarised in our reports, which are available here.
The Parteen Basin option was identified as the preferred scheme as it is the option which delivers the widest benefit to the greatest number of people, with the least environmental impact and in the most cost effective manner.
The preferred scheme to meet this demand and allow for growth comprises the abstraction of water from the Parteen Basin on the Lower River Shannon, with water treatment nearby at Birdhill, County Tipperary. Treated water would then be piped 170km to a new reservoir at Peamount in south County Dublin, connecting to the Greater Dublin network. Provision of treated water supplies to communities in North Tipperary, Offaly, Laois, Westmeath, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow is also enabled by the preferred scheme.
The outcome of the consultation process identified that the Parteen Basin scheme is the best option, and is the only option that meets the projects objective of providing a long-term and sustainable water supply for the Eastern and Midlands Region.
Further information on the history of the project and how the preferred scheme has been selected can be found on the dedicated project website www.watersupplyproject.ie.
Where can I get more information
Irish Water is committed to staying in close and active contact with stakeholders as it moves towards submitting the planning application. A dedicated information service has been established where members of the public and interested stakeholders can continue to contact the Project Team by phone, online, email or in writing, details of which are provided below.