Call for independent assessment of Shannon water extraction plan

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AN INDEPENDENT report carried out by experts from outside Ireland is the only way to get a definitive answer on how best to provide for the future water needs of the Dublin region.

Members of Limerick City and County Council’s Environment Committee have been told that Irish Water has no need to run pipeline from the Parteen Basin to Dublin to take care of the city’s demand for clean water.

Gerard Siney of the River Shannon Protection Alliance told the committee that proposals to construct a €2 billion pipeline to take water from the Shannon for Dublin is “not needed, a vast waste of public money and a scheme which carries very high risks”.

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Mr Siney said that Irish Water have ignored warnings that extrapolation “will result in major damage, environmentally and economically. They have refused to consider anything but a one-size-fits-all massive pipeline.

“It will never be self-financing,” he declared.

“330 million litres of water per day is almost certainly the thin edge of the wedge. Expert reports state that the pipe should be constructed to a diameter not just to supply for predicted needs but over its effective working life.

“If it goes ahead, not one drop of water will reach Dublin for ten years plus. This is third world stuff”.

Mr Siney said that other expert reports concluded that tapping into the large amounts of groundwater available in the Dublin environs would be a cheaper, safer and faster alternative.

“If allowed to proceed, the Irish Water scheme will result in levels of the Shannon dropping, with knock-on effects for industries which depend on an uncompromised river.

“The harbour master is concerned that ships may not be able to berth because we need a sufficient volume and speed of water to prevent silting up of shipping channels.

“What is needed now is a completely independent assessment from an international source,” Mr Siney concluded.

Stating that she accepted the need for “a completely independent scientific assessment”, Cllr Marian Hurley (FG) said “it would be worthwhile hearing what Irish Water have to say”. 

Cllr John Loftus (Ind) said: “I have been a desalination engineer and worked on plants in Saudi Arabia. One desalination plant north and another south of Dublin would be the most cost-effective solution but Irish Water are not looking at this”.

Cllr John Gilligan (Ind) said that “47 per of water is lost in Dublin to leaks and leaks are not going to fix themselves”.

Cmhlr Seighin O’Ceallaigh (SF) said taking Shannon water would do nothing to stop flooding as the water would be extracted in Summer.

Cllr James Collins (FF) said that people could be incentivised to harvest rainwater for every purpose except human consumption.

“We’re proposing to pipe water to Dublin to be flushed away. It’s bonkers,” he declared.

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