With Dublin City Council requesting citizens to conserve water and minimize use, it shows the urgent need for a strategic water reserve for the region, to safeguard investment and domestic supply. Bord Na Móna have proposed such a project at Garryhinch in Co. Laois and this, along with many previous water shortage events highlights once again the necessity to fast track this critical piece of infrastructure.
The Dublin region has a very limited reserve of water with a 1% difference between supply and demand. With the recent high temperatures the 15% reserve is just not sufficient. It has got to the stage that any unseasonable change in weather results in a shortage of water in Dublin City.
A new source of water must be put in place to secure future growth. A reliable water supply has the potential to be a key part of our industrial strategy, in combination with our corporation tax rate – and be a measure to attract new companies and industries.
I fully support the Bord Na Móna Garryhinch supply project to capture excess water on the Shannon when in flood, to service the needs of the greater Dublin region. It is a project of strategic national importance that will require an investment of nearly €500 million. Over 1,000 jobs will be created during construction and 150 permanent jobs at the Eco-park in Laois.
This project must be fast-tracked. Dublin City Council will only shortly appoint a consultant to advance the further planning of this scheme. The planning and statutory approval phase will take approximately two years. The design and procurement phase will take a further two years, and the construction and commissioning phase a further three years. Continued economic growth in the Greater Dublin Area will not materialise unless there is secure access to water.
The greater Dublin region is the hub of Ireland’s economy and water is crucial to its continued growth, and providing the Government with the tax revenues that pay for services all over the rest of the country. When Irish Water takes over the project in 2014, it is crucial that it fast tracks the Garryhinch project.
One of the reasons Intel and other companies are located here is because of the water supply available to it. We must continue to exploit this resource and ensure sufficient capacity is in place. The Garryhinch project is critical to the continued economic growth of Ireland.