Irish Water, Ireland’s national water utility responsible for providing and developing water and waste water services throughout Ireland, in partnership with Laois County Council, has completed a €2.6m upgrade of 14km of watermains in Mountmellick, Portlaoise, Ballyroan and Timahoe.
Over 300 homes and businesses will benefit from the improvements in drinking water supply and quality.
This project involved a detailed assessment of the watermains locally including burst history, leakage rates, condition of the pipes, carrying capacity and water discoloration issues. The assessment highlighted the areas of watermains that were in the poorest condition and rehabilitation and replacement works were targeted on these sections.
The completion of this project has meant substantial reductions in leakage and maintenance costs, a more reliable supply and fewer instances of water discolouration. The project also included the removal of old service lines, including lead services, along the watermains and the decommissioning of older cast iron mains. The improved network in these areas will also allow for future population growth and development.
“Half of Ireland’s treated drinking water literally goes down the drain due to leaking pipes,” according to Tom Leahy, Water and Wastewater Regional Operations Manager, East and Midlands Region, Irish Water. “Laois is one of many regions with ageing pipes susceptible to leaks that are not fit for purpose. We are delighted to have completed this project providing a more secure supply to homes and businesses in Laois.”
The project was also welcomed by Mayor of Laois, Councillor John Joe Fennelly; “This is a very welcome project and represents a long overdue investment in the watermains in Laois. I am delighted that the communities of Mountmellick, Portlaoise, Ballyroan and Timahoe are now benefitting from the significant improvements in drinking water quality this project has delivered.”
Watermains rehabilitation is one aspect of Irish Water’s plan to reduce leakage. Irish Water is also supporting customers in reducing leaks on their property through the Interim First Fix Scheme. Since detecting over 30,000 suspected leaks on customer properties during its first meter reading cycle, Irish Water has so far contacted 2,500 customers offering them a free leak investigation under their Interim First Fix Scheme.
The Commission for Energy Regulation has this week begun public consultation on Irish Water’s continuing Draft First Fix Leak Repair Scheme. The Government has allocated a total of €51m to the end of 2016, to fund the implementation of the continuing First Fix Scheme.
Irish Water invested €340m in improving water and waste water services in 2014 and will invest over €410 million in improving water services during 2015. This spend will increase over subsequent years. Capital investment in the region of €600m per year is required for a sustained period of several decades, to address the acknowledged deficiencies in the country’s water infrastructure.