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Constraints and
Assessment Criteria

What are the constraints being examined?

A Constraint is a limiting factor on site selection for locating (water supply) infrastructure. Typical constraints would include human settlements, environmental (Designated Areas etc.) or technical / physical factors (mountains/ rivers / lakes etc.). The location of infrastructure sites and pipeline routes is determined primarily though the avoidance of impacts on these constraints. This method plays a key role in minimising potential environmental impacts arising from development. This approach involves the preparation of a constraints map which identifies the areas to be avoided where possible. Where this is not possible, minimisation of impact through design will be employed.

Public Consultation

The Public Consultation Process for the Options Working Paper (which took place from June through to August 2015) sought comments, suggestions and opinions on the Constraints considered as part of the Water Supply Project. The key questions asked of the public during this process included:
• 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 comments 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?

The Project Team received 46 submissions during this period, and held numerous discussions with stakeholders. The stakeholder comments and suggestions were logged and reviewed by the Project Team and were used to inform the Multi Criteria Analysis undertaken as part of the Preliminary Options Appraisal Report. This feedback, together with the Project Team response, can be found in Appendix H of the Preliminary Options Appraisal Report.

Constraints which have been identified to date include, but are not limited to:


European designated sites which include SPAs, SACs, Annex 1 Habitats (i.e. habitats that fall outside the SAC designations) and RAMSAR sites; National designated sites which include NHAs and pNHAs; Local Authority designations which include Tree Preservation Orders.

Cultural Heritage

National Monuments, archaeological sites as identified in the Record of Monuments and places (RMP); structures listed in the Record of Protected Structures in each county development plan; Architectural Conservation Areas and candidate Architectural Conservation Areas as identified under each county development plan; National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.


Geological Heritage Sites and Regionally Important Aquifers.


Protected water bodies which include Salmonid Waters; designated shellfish-waters; water dependent habitats which include SACs, SPAs and NHAs; recreational waters which include designated bathing waters; designated nutrient sensitive waters, public water sources and flood risk zones.


Highly Sensitive Landscapes and Certain Landscape Types

Sensitive Receptors

Sensitive receptors which include resident hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, education facilities, childcare facilities, historical sites / buildings, museums and gardens.

What are the proposed Assessment Criteria?

Assessment Criteria would typically include Environmental, Economic, Social, Technical and Risk Factors. They will be used in further options appraisals and in evaluating options relative to each other.

The Assessment Criteria identified by the project team include the following Environmental, Technical and Risk criteria:

Environmental & Socio-economic Criteria

  • Biodiversity,
  • Flora and Fauna;
  • Fisheries; Water;
  • Air / Climactic Factors;
  • Material Assets (Energy);
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Landscape and Visual;
  • Material Assets (Land use);
  • Tourism;
  • Population;
  • Human Health;
  • Soils, Geology and Hydrogeology.

Technical and Risk Criteria

  • Safety
  • Planning policy
  • Engineering and design
  • Capital and operational costs
  • Sustainability
  • Risk