Watering Dublin

Someone asked me recently about the progress of the scheme to supply Dublin with water from the Shannon. I had to confess that I haven’t been keeping up with the matter, because I don’t think it’s very important, but happily KildareStreet.com has provided an update. On Tuesday 16 July 2013 one of the Sinn Féin chappies, Brian Stanley of Laois-Offaly, asked a priority question:

54. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the progress being made on the Dublin, Garryhinch, Shannon water supply project; and the timeframe for planning, construction and completion phases of this project.

I suspect that most folk think of the scheme as one involving Dublin and the Shannon, so that the inclusion of Garryhinch may have been puzzling. It seems that Garryhinch is on the road from Portarlington to Mountmellick, just after that nasty bend where folk go to commit golf.

And Mr Stanley is interested not because he wants Garryhinch, Portarlington Golf Club, or indeed Portarlington and Mountmellick to be flooded but because he wants his constituents to be employed digging a hole in the ground there (a bit like the Clones Sheugh, really) and working in a water-based ecopark that will include a reservoir where the Shannon’s water will be stored.

Anyway, Fergus O’Dowd [FG, Louth], who is a Minister of State for something, replied:

The Dublin water supply scheme long-term water source is listed as a scheme at planning stage in my Department’s water services investment programme 2010 to 2013. Dublin City Council is the lead authority for this scheme, on behalf of all of the water services authorities in the greater Dublin area.

Studies carried out for the city council and a strategic environmental assessment have identified a preferred option which involves abstraction of raw water from Lough Derg and pumping the abstracted water through a new pipeline to a proposed storage reservoir at Garryhinch cut-away bog in County Offaly, forming part of a proposed midlands water-based eco-park. After treatment, water would then be conveyed to the west of Dublin where the new supply would be integrated with the existing storage and trunk distribution system.

In December 2012, the Department approved a brief for the engagement of consultants for the planning and statutory approval phase of the scheme. Dublin City Council has carried out a procurement process and I understand it will shortly be in a position to appoint a consultant to advance the further planning of this scheme.

The programme for project implementation has been developed based on the planning and statutory approval phase taking approximately two years. The detailed design and procurement phase should take a further two years, while the construction and commissioning phase should be completed in three years.

Following their appointment by Dublin City Council, the consultants will undertake the environmental impact statement and other statutory requirements in preparation for a submission to An Bord Pleanála which will adjudicate on the matter.

He forgot to mention “best practice”, so he’s lost some brownie points. Mr Stanley wanted it all to happen much faster, to be completed before 2021, but the discussion provided no more useful information. Bord na Móna has some more information about the eco-park here. All good stuff, much as I suggested for Lough Oughter, but I’d lose the eco title: eco stuff is so last millennium.

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