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Friday, 27th November 2020

Confusion reigns over future of County Meath water supplies

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Councillor Elaine McGinty.

There seems to be confusion between Irish Water and Meath County Council over whether or not water supplies in the county are at or near capacity but the Council says that’s not true. 

In its submission to Meath County Council for the Meath County Development Plan 2021-2027 the water utility highlighted the fact that the Meath area is at or near capacity. 

But In its response to Irish Water Meath County Council said that while water network capacity is currently constrained in some parts of Meath it is not factually correct to state that water supply for the Meath area is at or near capacity. 

The long-term plan for Meath is to link it to the Greater Dublin Area to allow transfers from the Water Supply Project which will allow for growth and reduced outages.  There is no timescale given and, until then, the availability of water is on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to domestic customers. 

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Labour Councillor Elaine McGinty said that Irish Water could not be any clearer, the system is at or close to capacity across the County. 

“Here we are, voting on the future development of the County and the basic infrastructure which is Water has not been invested in.  We need to understand what exact plants are at capacity, what surplus is available and where” she said.  

“If capital investment is planned, can we have that information now so we can make an informed decision?”

“These statements show a clear contradiction on the availability of water between Irish Water who has responsibility for the delivery of water and wastewater services to homes and businesses across the country and Meath County Council” Cllr McGinty said.

“This issue not only affects the homes currently under construction but also any planned future developments.  In the last month alone, there have been four serious water outages in South Drogheda and East Meath due to essential maintenance works.  We need urgent answers as to the state of our water supply both now and into the future.”

In relation to the Wastewater Treatment plants again Irish Water say that there are constraints and applications for development are on a first-come, first-served basis.  The plant on the Marsh Road in South Drogheda and Farganstown in Navan are highlighted as being under pressure and reliant on works being completed. 

“Labour TD Ged Nash recently asked the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage to comment on the operating capacity of the wastewater treatment plant at Marsh Road Drogheda based on the current population of the area.   

“The plant has been the source of many complaints to the EPA and Irish Water over the last number of years. Irish Water have yet to reply to this request but have stated that they are undertaking a programme of works to improve performance, but these will not address the capacity issues.

Recently, Irish Water announced that it will spend €4.5 billion over the next 4 years investing in infrastructure. Cllr McGinty has asked Irish Water to provide detailed information to Councillors.

“We need to know what exactly will be spent and where to ensure the provision of a reliable water supply and wastewater system for Drogheda, East Meath and the County.”

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