FAMILIES in a rural community are drawing dirty water from wells because of constant leaks in the public water network in their area.
Several children have contracted diarrhoea and there are concerns for the health of newborn babies unless the situation is resolved.
The families who live in Lisgoold, near Midleton in Co Cork, pleaded with Cork County Council last night to replace a pipe and fix the problem which they say has been ongoing for almost three years.
A spokesman for the county council said it is treating the matter as a “high priority” and are trying to secure funding to replace the pipe as quickly as possible.
Mother of three Amy Guiney said the faults have worsened in recent months and she and her neighbours have been without water at least 18 times since January.
Last weekend was the third weekend in a month they were left without, she said.
“We have put up with this situation for long enough,” the mother of a two-and-a-half-year old daughter and nine-month-old twin boys said.
“Enough is enough is enough. Cork County Council have consistently wasted public money repairing sections of the pipe instead of saving money and replacing it.”
Amy and her husband John moved to Lisgoold in 2006 and the water supply problems began soon afterwards.
Cracks in the mains pipe, from Top Cross to Lisgoold East, which supplies water to about 11 homes, are being blamed.
Amy said she has seen the cracks while repair crews worked on the problem.
“The workmen can’t do enough to help us,” she said.
She said the crews are not being sent out to repair faults at weekends because of cutbacks in overtime.
“The pipe is well beyond its sell-by date,” Amy said.
“The cost of replacing the pipe is far less than the repeated cost of repair.
“You don’t need to a qualified engineer to figure out how to stop throwing money down the drain.
“Give me a job in the county council and I will show them how to cut costs,” she said.
Amy said she and her neighbours have lost their patience and that a petition is being organised to show the council that the community is united in its fight for its right to water.
“This time it has gone too far and the money being wasted is sickening. We want our water,” she said.
The county council spokesman said the problems with the pipe worsened after the severe weather last winter and that the only long-term solution is the full replacement of a 1.4km stretch of pipe.
“We are trying to secure funding under different schemes and this is a high priority to be replaced,” he said.
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