Hundreds of farmers are “very concerned” about the proposed 170km Shannon to Dublin water pipeline, because of the lasting impact it could have on their land.
Irish Water yesterday published the “preferred scheme”, which details a new source of water supply for the Eastern and Midlands region.
The 50-metre wide pipe will run from the River Shannon’s Parteen Basin in Tipperary to Peamount in south Co Dublin, with the aim of delivering 330 million litres of water to the midlands and Dublin daily.
The cost is estimated at €1.2 billion.
“We have about 500 farmers who are very concerned about the impact this will have,” Thomas Cooney, chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA) environment and rural affairs committee, told the Irish Examiner.
“I was with one farmer in Tipperary today whose farm will be cut in half and the pipe would cause a 50-metre split, the width of O’Connell Street in Dublin, in his land.
“He doesn’t know how long the works would be going on for on his land and what it would all look like afterwards,” the IFA representative said.
Mr Cooney highlighted a number of areas of concern for farmers: “They’re worried about when it’ll be finished and what the situation with drainage, pipes and shores will be.
“They want to know if they’ll be able to farm as they have been doing. They want to know where all the leftover soil will go and will it have to be hauled across their fields,” he said.
“They’re also concerned about the period after the construction phase and if there will be air vents on their lands.
“As well as that, they’re concerned about future planning permission on their land if they have a son or a daughter and they won’t be able to get planning to build now because of the location of a shore or an air vent,” he added.
Mr Cooney said the IFA is encouraging all those affected to attend one of the public consultation open days planned by Irish Water in November and December.
Also critical of the proposal was Gerry Siney, chairman of the River Shannon Protection Alliance.
“The high risks are enormous for this type of project,” he said.
However, the “preferred scheme” was welcomed by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
“The proposal offers a critical piece of long-term infrastructure for nearly half the population and generations to come,” said Aebhric McGibney, director of public and international affairs at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
The “preferred scheme” was published on the same day as Irish Water announced it would seek planning permission for the Stillorgan Reservoir Upgrade Project, a new covered reservoir at the Dublin site with the aim of benefitting more than 200,000 people.
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