Ireland’s first ever national water supply blueprint shapes up

Irish Water has published for consultation the first documents that will make up the country’s first-ever National Water Resources Plan. It will cover the next 25 years and is set to be reviewed every five.

The part-publicly-owned national utility has admitted that over 50% of water supplies “are still not as secure or reliable as we would like them be. We will need to transform the public water supply over time to meet the challenges of historic underinvestment and ageing of our infrastructure and under performance”.

Substantial population increases in many major Irish cities and towns and their surrounding suburbs over the coming decades will create a significant demand for extra drinking water.

Additional water supplies will also be needed to meet demand from manufacturing and pharmaceuticals as well as water-intensive users like data centres.

Currently many customers experience interruptions to their supplies or are subjected to precautionary Boil Water Notices. Current Levels of Service (LoS) for Irish Water supplies are low compared to most European countries.

Irish Water is proposing a 1 in 50 LoS for the entire public network. By comparison in the UK, current best practice is to provide a 1 in 100-year LoS.

The draft framework document published this week will be followed by four Regional Water Resources Plans These will set out the options to address identified needs across all the country’s supplies.