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Irish Water launches second public consultation phase for the proposed Water Supply Project Eastern and Midlands Region (WSP)

9th June, 2015

4 water supply options now being considered by Irish Water – feedback sought in relation to  proposed constraints  and assessment criteria for shortlisting options

Irish Water has published the Options Working Paper on the proposed Water Supply Project, Eastern and Midlands Region (WSP) which outlines an independent review of all previous studies undertaken on providing a new source of water supply for Dublin and the Eastern and Midlands Region. Finding a sustainable new source of drinking water to cater for population and economic growth in this area has been a key priority for the past decade. This consultation will run for 8 weeks from the 9th June to the 4th August 2015.

Ten options identified to date have already been evaluated as part of Strategic Environmental Assessments (2007-2011) which looked at environmental, technical, risk, economic and socio-economic perspectives. Four of the ten options were identified as being technically viable and Irish Water, having independently validated the four options is now bringing each forward for further consideration in the planning process.  No decision on a preferred option has been made to date. Public consultation and on site studies in each of the four areas will form a key part of the decision making process to identify an emerging preferred option by late 2015.  Following detailed environmental assessments on the preferred option a planning application will be submitted by Irish Water to An Bord Pleanála in mid-2017. At this stage Irish Water is now looking in detail at the four options to identify the Constraints which will define the positioning of option infrastructure (e.g. pipelines, treatment plants etc.)  and also to identify the ‘Assessment Criteria which will be used to consider each of the four options relative to each other.

Jerry Grant, Head of Asset Strategy with Irish Water, commenting on the project said, “The Eastern and Midlands region urgently needs a new source of  drinking water  and work has been ongoing to secure this for more than a decade. Irish Water wants to engage with people on how we are going to look at and assess the viable options to meet that need moving forward in order to ensure security of supply and economic growth for the Eastern and Midlands Region as well as the country as a whole.”

Irish Water is inviting members of the public and interested groups to give their views on their proposed Constraints and Assessment Criteria (and the approach to their use) to identify an Emerging Preferred Option whilst minimising the impact on people and the environment. The four technically viable options confirmed by Irish Water in no particular order of priority, are as follows:

DESALINATION

LOUGH DERG (DIRECT)

LOUGH DERG AND STORAGE

PARTEEN BASIN (DIRECT)

Irish Water is now inviting submissions on the following:

  • What other national, regional or locally important constraints should Irish Water take into account when locating the infrastructure associated with each water supply option?
  • Have you any comment on the proposed constraints and the approach to their use?
  • Are there any Assessment Criteria other than those proposed which should be used in the next phase of options appraisal?
  • How would you like to be communicated with us as the project progresses?

 

Feedback from the consultation process will be obtained through stakeholder meetings and written submissions which can be made by email to watersupply@water.ie or by post to Water Supply Project, Merrion House, Merrion Road, Dublin 4. All issues raised from this consultation will be reviewed and considered as part of the next phase of the process which will result in a Preliminary Options Appraisal Report (detailing an Emerging Preferred Option) due for publication and consultation later in 2015.

It is expected that a preferred option for meeting the water supply needs of Dublin, the Eastern and Midlands region once agreed and subject to relevant environmental consideration will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for planning approval in mid-2017.

The Water Supply Options Working Paper is available to view in County Libraries and at Local Authority Planning Counters within the project study area and can be downloaded from www.watersupplyproject.ie. Further information can also be made available by calling Lo-call 1890 252 848.


Notes to Editors: 

Project Background

Irish Water has a statutory responsibility to meet ‘all reasonable demands for water, both current and foreseeable’, and is 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 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 matters.

This is the second in a series of public consultation phases that has occurred to date. The first was held on the Need for the Project and the Project Road Map and ran for 8 weeks from the 10th March to 5th May 2015. Feedback from this consultation phase will be reported on within the Options Working Paper which is out for Public Consultation for 8 weeks from the 9th June until the 4th August 2015.

(*A constraint is a limiting factor on site selection for locating infrastructure – typical constraints would include human settlements, environmental (Special Areas of Conservation) or technical / physical factors (mountains / rivers / lakes etc.). Assessment Criteria would (typically) include Environmental, Economic, Social, Technical and Risk factors.)