Skip to main content

Draft Cork Wastewater Strategy

The economic success of the Cork Metropolitan Area has led to significant growth in Cork City and surrounding areas. The National Planning Framework envisages that Cork will become the fastest growing region in Ireland with a projected 50% to 60% population increase up to 2040. As a result of this growth, the wastewater infrastructure is challenged to keep pace with the increased demand for new serviced land needed for housing, commercial developments and industry.

The Draft Cork Wastewater Strategy aims to deliver a sustainable drainage strategy that will protect public health, safeguard our environment and facilitate growth to 2080.

The Strategy

The Draft Cork Wastewater Strategy will consider the capacity of existing wastewater infrastructure and will identify options for upgrading and building new wastewater infrastructure up to 2080.  The strategy will include an analysis of the existing wastewater infrastructure along with data gathering, population and economic growth assessments, strategic environmental assessment, consultation with interested stakeholders to identify medium and long-term solutions to the wastewater needs of the region. The strategy will be consistent with statutory obligations and regulatory drivers designed to meet both national and international environmental objectives outlined in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Urban Wastewater Treatment Directives (UWWTD).

What is happening now?

The first round of consultation has been extended until 23 July 2024 and we are seeking feedback and comments on the Issues Paper, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Scoping and Appropriate Assessment (AA) Screening Report. For more information, view the Draft Cork Wastewater Strategy information leaflet.

Study Area

The study area includes the Cork Metropolitan Area and Grenagh as presented in Figure 1. The Cork Metropolitan Area (CMA) is a major regional metropolitan area, identified as such in the National Planning Framework and in the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy. 

The CMA includes Cork City, its suburbs and the towns and rural areas in the immediate hinterland of the City of Cork as a single integrated unit. The CMA covers 820km², and has a population of just over 307,500 as determined from the Census 2022, with the population projected to increase to 476,000 in 2040. The study area contains over 25 towns and villages in addition to the urban centre of Cork City.

The need for the study:

The Cork Metropolitan Area faces several challenges in relation to wastewater collection and treatment, including:

  • Increase in population. 
  • Current compliance challenges at a number of wastewater treatment plants and sewerage networks in the study area.
  • Wastewater treatment capacity requirements to deal with current and future loads from the Cork Metropolitan Area. 
  • Pressures on the receiving waters from wastewater discharges within the Cork Metropolitan Area.
  • Effects of climate change.

The strategy will incorporate the needs of stakeholders, support economic growth, allow for climate change, and meet the demand of a growing population and protect the environment.

The benefits of the study:

Icon

Development of a sustainable drainage strategy for the Cork Metropolitan Area consistent with the EU Water Framework Directive and Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulations.

Icon

Outline the requirements for wastewater drainage and treatment capacity capable of meeting the demands of the study area in the context of current Development Plans, the National Planning Framework, the RSES 2020 and longer-term development potential of the area up to year 2080.

Icon

Identification of alternative solutions for effective management of wastewater to protect and enhance the environment, support social and economic growth aligning with UÉ Water Services Strategic Plan and the Government of Ireland Water Services Policy Statement (WSPS).

Icon

Evaluation of alternative solutions and identification of the optimum wastewater drainage solutions having regard to whole-life cost and environmental performance.

Icon

Identification of solution for implementing the recommendations of the Wastewater Strategy, together with the prioritisation of such implementation projects.

Icon

To develop an adaptable strategy where outcomes are expected to be linked to volatile influences like climate and population change and confirming that strategy will achieve performance indicators and outcomes at least cost.

Icon

Establish a positive connection with the public and inspire confidence in UÉ as trustworthy guardians of water and wastewater services.

Draft Cork Wastewater Strategy

How to Engage

We are now looking for your input to the Issues Paper, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Scoping and Appropriate Assessment (AA) Screening Report through this public consultation, running from 15 May to 23 July 2024. As well as gathering feedback, the results of this public consultation will provide an insight into attitudes towards the strategy.

In order to assist stakeholders in making a submission as part of this consultation, we invite feedback on the following consultation questions; however, feedback is not limited to these questions.

Icon

Do you have any suggestions that you would like Uisce Éireann to consider in the preparation of its Cork Wastewater Strategy?

Icon

The Cork Wastewater Strategy study area comprises the Cork Metropolitan Area and the Cork Harbour and Cork Outer Harbour receiving waters and the Water Framework Directive waterbodies. Do you have any comments on this?

Icon

Do you have any comments on the approach to the Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Cork Wastewater Strategy?

Icon

Section 2.1 in chapter 2 of the SEA Scoping Report outlines the objectives of the Cork Wastewater Strategy. Do you have any comments on these objectives?

Icon

Uisce Éireann has reviewed plans, policies and programmes relevant to the Cork Wastewater Strategy in chapter 4 of the SEA Scoping Report. Are there any others that should be considered?

Icon

Chapter 3 of the SEA Scoping Report sets out the current baseline environment conditions and future trends. The environmental issues are summarised in table 3.16. Do you have any comments on these?

Icon

Chapter 5 of the SEA Scoping Report sets out the environmental objectives that will be used to assess the Wastewater Strategy and its potential effects on the environment. Table 5.1 summarises these objectives. Have you any comments on these?

Icon

How would you like Uisce Éireann to communicate with you as the plan progresses?

To make a submission please send it to us by email or post by 9 July 2024.

Email: cws@water.ie

Post: Cork Wastewater Strategy, Uisce Éireann, PO Box 860, South City Delivery Office, Cork City

Next steps - Consultation 2

Following the conclusion of consultation 1, Uisce Éireann will review and consider feedback received from stakeholders. In 2025, the draft Cork Wastewater Strategy will be published, and an eight-week public consultation will be undertaken, before being reviewed and finalised in 2025.