Engineering experts call for River Shannon to supply water to East and Midlands

Severe water shortages in the Midlands and east will get even worse unless progress is made on sourcing water from the Shannon.

That is the view of Engineers Ireland, which has given Ireland's water system a 'C' grade in its latest report on our infrastructure.

It says our water system is unable to meet peak demand and needs major investment.

The report is based on input from a panel of 40 engineering experts.

Peter Quinn, President of Engineers Ireland, said: “Today, our report sets out two- and five- year priority actions which are necessary to improve the performance of our infrastructure networks.

These priority recommendations need to be delivered if we are to meet current environmental, social and economic challenges.

"And only sustained action in these areas will enable us to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.”

    The key recommendations in report include:

  • Ensure the entire country has a safe and secure drinking water supply.
  • Complete upgrades of existing infrastructure such as water supply at Vartry (Wicklow), water treatment at Lee Road (Cork) and wastewater treatment at Ringsend (Dublin) and Cork Lower Harbour.
  • Progress strategic projects to support the growth of Dublin and the wider region, including the Eastern & Midlands Region Water Supply Project and the Greater Dublin Drainage Project.
  • Eliminate all untreated wastewater discharges to safeguard water quality, human health and the natural environment.
  • Reduce water network leakage from 44% to 35% within the next five years (saving the equivalent of 22,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water per year).
  • Strategically deliver the 118 flood relief schemes identified in the Flood Plans to protect 95% of properties at risk of flooding.
  • Expand our knowledge on the effects of climate change and translate this knowledge into the design of resilient infrastructure.
  • Compile a register of all significant dams in Ireland and develop a system of assessment for multi-functional dams.
  • Continue the development of the National Flood Forecasting and Warning Service and improve local warning systems to assist emergency response.
  • Launch a Sustainability Education Programme on water quality, the value of water, the causes of flooding and the full array of flood risk management options.

Mr Quinn said: “Over the next 20 years, our population is set to increase by one million people. Regional development is vital but we must prepare for the majority of this population and jobs growth to be focused in urban centres.

"This will mean putting in place strategic systems of sustainable infrastructure to support growth, including water and wastewater services and flood defences.

“Delivering Project Ireland 2040, including our priority actions, will be impossible without expanded industry and a larger engineering workforce. We face challenges posed by skills shortages, particularly in the Civil and Building Engineering field."


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