Updated: 26/07/17 : 06:45:15Printable Version
As the water crisis continues to affect over 50,000 homes in Louth and Meath caused by old piping, Irish Water have come under fire for not investing in the infrastructure and instead wasting millions of euro in failed and ill-thought out 'initiatives'.It has been revealed that Sligo and the north west could see a repeat of the dire water shortage currently being foisted upon the residents in the north east of the country if essential work is not carried out.
Nationally over 1,300 kms of lead and asbestos concrete piping needs to be replaced before 2021 with a further 300km at risk of failure.
Irish Water said the repairs required last year were not as complex as the current works taking place, which involve the fitting of a new pipe that is being specially manufactured.
But the utility also warned of the risk of water being cut off in other parts of the country as ageing pipes reach the end of their design life.
Sligo has been highlighted in that latest list from the water utility with two plants, serving 25,580 people, currently needing upgrades. See graph below
In the north west, 55.4kms of piping has been identified for replacement before the 2021 deadline and a further 201.6kms prioritised for replacement.
In some cases, mains installed during the Victorian period continue to serve growing populations. Others are asbestos and cast iron.Apologised
Meanwhile the Minister for Local Government Eoghan Murphy on a visit to Drogheda yesterday apologised to the tens of thousands of people left without water for a fifth day but defended the Government’s response and expressed “complete confidence” in Irish Water's management.
He said it only became clear on Sunday that last week’s burst pipe on the main water supply to Drogheda required “a national emergency response” when a third repair failed.
The minister said it was hard to say how long it would take Irish Water to replace the damaged pipe. The company has said it is hoping to restore the supply by tomorrow, Thursday, but that it would be the weekend before water supply would return to normal.
However while the official report cites 50,000 people disrupted by the crisis local politicians dispute this figure and say that as many as 200,000 people are affected. Graph published by Independent.ie