Shannon to Dublin water pipeline could be “catastrophic” to local economy

The Parteen basin on Lough Derg

A PLAN to pipe up to 330 million litres of water a day to Dublin from Shannon could be “catastrophic” to the local economy, it has been claimed.

Members of the River Shannon Protection Alliance (RSPA) are opposed to the long-talked about plans, which would see water pumped from the Parteen Basin in Birdhill up to Dublin, to alleviate pressures on the capital city’s water supply.

The plans would see a 172km pipeline built, at a currently estimated cost of €1.65 billion, which, according to the RSPA, is unnecessary and overly expensive.

Speaking to the Limerick Post, Kay Mullane of the River Shannon Protection Alliance said that the pipeline plans would be too expensive and wouldn’t solve Dublin’s water supply issues.

“Uisce Éireann are saying they need the water, but they have plenty of water in Dublin, the problem is that the pipes are leaking in Dublin so in a lot of cases they’re losing up to 50 per cent of the water.”

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“They have no plan to do a mains replacement for Dublin, but all that they’re doing is a kind of a sticking plaster job, when it leaks they go out and fix it, but there’s no overall plan the pipes are so old there, they’re over 100 years old, they need to be done,” Ms Mullane said.

“There’s no need to bring a pipe 172 kilometers up the country, it crosses over about 500 farms, there’s a load of environmental issues with that as well,” Kay told the Limerick Post.

If the plans go ahead, Lough Derg will see significant adverse effects according to the RSPA, with a potential drought, decreased opportunities for foreign direct investment, and less opportunities for tourism around the river.

“What we’re saying is they’re investing this €1.65 billion to cater for a potential drought that will maybe be for a few weeks in the summer, that’s the only time that there could be a problem, and so when they have the problem up there with the drought, we’ll have the same problem down here,” Kay said.

The RSPA say that there are more plentiful sources of water closer to Dublin such as the Blessington Reservoir, Ballymore Eustace, Islandbridge, the Grand Canal, ampng others, and maintain that these should be utilised, rather than building a massive pipeline from the Shannon.

“It’s a lazy option,” Kay said.

If the plans for the pipeline do go ahead, the RSPA say that it could have “catastrophic” impacts on the local economy around Lough Derg.

“The lake will drop so much, it could be catastrophic really, what the proposal is that they’ll take 330 million litres of water a day… but that could increase,” Ms Mullane said.

The River Shannon Protection Alliance say they are hoping to make the proposed Shannon Pipeline an election issue in the upcoming local election.

In a statement to the Limerick Post, Uisce Éireann said that fixing leaks in existing pipes would not be enough, and that the utility has an “ambitious” plan to fix leaks in Dublin.

“Uisce Éireann has an ambitious programme to reduce leakage in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Meath to 20% by 2030. However, fixing the leaks is not enough, the current situation of a growing water supply deficit and lack of supply resilience is not sustainable,” the statement said.

“The application, seeking approval in principle, for the project to proceed to planning has been submitted to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage under the Public Spending Code Guidelines. Uisce Éireann is awaiting the outcome of that process,” the utility said.