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Irish Water publishes the “Need Report” for the proposed Eastern and Midlands Region Water Supply Project (WSP)

An eight week consultation process now follows to discuss the report’s findings with stakeholders.


Monday, 9th March: Irish Water has today published a report which sets out the pressing need for a new water supply source for the Eastern and Midlands Region of the country. The report identifies that projected demand for water in Dublin alone is expected to increase by over 50% by 2050. This is well beyond the capacity of the existing sources which serve the region. The report draws on extensive independent expert research and recommendations in relation to population projections and economic forecasting (2015-2050) and it concludes that a new water supply source is needed for Irish Water’s Eastern and Midlands Region.  This finding is based around six key issues:

  • Ireland has failed to adequately invest in its major water supply infrastructure for over half a century.
  • The need for comprehensive action to be taken  to address future water supply needs, both in Dublin and its surrounding region, has long  been recognised since the mid-1990s
  • Essential water savings  from conservation programmes and leakage reductions will not deliver the quantities of  water  needed to meet future  requirements
  • Ireland’s economic future is heavily  dependent on a resilient, adequate and sustainable water supply
  • Not fully implementing the proposed Water Supply Project carries a very high risk of increasing outage disruptions, shortages and ultimately water rationing
  • Water shortages can result in high disruption costs for businesses and domestic water users – recent outages in Dublin (2010-2014) typically cost the Irish economy in excess of €78m per day


Independent research

Irish Water’s ‘Project Need Report’ is supported and informed by three independent specialist studies;

(a) Demographic Report

(b) Economist Report

(c) Water Demand Review

These independent specialist studies provide population projections, sourced from Central Statistics Office data, on different scenarios related to forecast economic growth, fertility and migration. They examine each component of water demand, including per capita consumption, domestic demand, non-domestic demand, operational use and both the household-side and network-side leakage. Non-domestic demand, which is water used in business and industry, is analysed and growth is projected by sector. Trends on reducing per capita consumption and reducing intensity of industrial water use are incorporated in projections.


The Report concludes that, even after fully using the available water supply from the existing sources, and even with a parallel drive on water conservation and leakage control, there will still be significant additional water required.    It is expected that 215 million litres per day* in excess of existing capacity will be needed by 2050 for the Dublin Region alone.  This figure rises to 330 million litres per day when the surrounding region is included. Improvements to and maintenance of the existing water supply system, will not meet that level of need. A new source must be developed and utilised.


*1 million litres is approximately equal to a 50m swimming pool


Public Consultation

Following today’s publication of the Project Need Report, Irish Water is now undertaking an 8 week consultation process. It will begin today 10 March 2015 and conclude on 05 May 2015.

The consultation process will cover:

  • The ‘Need’ for the Water Supply Project (Eastern / Midlands Region) – outlined in the ‘Project Need Report’
  • The proposed ‘Roadmap ‘for the next steps in the WSP planning process which outlines how a preferred new supply option would be selected and the public consultation milestones involved in that process.


Feedback for the consultation process will be obtained through a combination of stakeholder meetings and an invitation for all interested parties to contribute  either by email or by post to Water Supply Project, Merrion House, Merrion Road, Dublin 4.


The Project Need Report (and Roadmap) is available to view in County Libraries and at Planning Counters within the project study area and can be downloaded Further information can also be made available by calling 1890 252 848.


All relevant issues raised from this consultation will be reviewed and considered as part of the next phase of the process which will result in an Options Working Paper (new Supply Options) due for publication and consultation later in Q2, 2015.


It is intended that, having taken into account feedback from the consultation process a preferred option for meeting the water supply needs of the region will be agreed and submitted to An Bord Pleanála for planning approval in 2017



For further information contact

Tel: 01 892 5500 / 087 145 8896


Notes to Editor:


Project Background


Irish Water have a statutory responsibility to meet ‘all reasonable demands for water, both current and foreseeable’, and are required to address in its strategic planning, ‘existing and reasonably foreseeable deficiencies in the provision of water services’


In January 2014, Irish Water assumed responsibility for the provision of public water services from 34 local authorities. This included the transfer of responsibility for the Water Supply Project Eastern and Midlands Region (WSP) from Dublin City Council who have managed the project on behalf of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government since 2004.


When responsibility for the project was with Dublin City Council, the project was known as the Water Supply Project – Dublin Region. However, the transfer of water services functions to Irish Water has opened a unique opportunity to take a strategic view of providing water services at a national level and as a result the project has now been considered with respect to one of the three regions within which Irish Water operates. Therefore the project is now known as the Water Supply Project Eastern and Midlands Region.


Irish Water is regulated by both the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) for economic matters and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for environmental