This year’s latest sub zero temperature episode led yet again to water mains and service pipes bursting and left authorities struggling to meet with shortages once more. In Dublin alone more than 5,000 leaks were found and the demand for water surged to 610 million litres in one day and 625 the following day!
It is clear that Ireland’s water network is in bad need of repair, “This was entirely predictable given the shambolic state of the country’s water network and the Government’s failure to fix it, especially when 43% of the supply was already leaking into the ground”, commented one TD on the water crisis last winter.
However, last April Minister for the Environment John Gormley did allocate €320 million for the replacement and rehabilitation of defective or leaking water mains and along with the introduction of domestic water charges that are due to be implemented in 2014, it would seem that both Ireland’s water network and supply issues would be resolved.
Having said all that no work has yet been carried out and according to Gerry Galvin, the principal engineering adviser for water at the Department of the Environment, “It’s going to take a considerable length of time sustaining the same level of investment if the problem is to be solved.” His own estimate is that just dealing with the worst mains will take 10 years! Similarly “Fitting meters is going to be a very expensive business and will take a long time. It’s a huge undertaking, and the cost nationally is likely to be between €400 million and €500 million,” says Brian Smyth of Dublin City Council.
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- Ireland’s water Network: 10 years before we see any improvement?