Irish Water has submitted a series of planning applications to Galway County Council in a bid to ease chronic water shortages on two of the Aran Islands.
The applications were made as islanders on Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr face another summer of water conservation notices and water restrictions.
Both islands have been plagued by water shortages in recent years due to prolonged periods of dry weather.
The utility company now plans to build a number of water reservoirs on both islands to help ensure a continuous and plentiful supply all year round. It intends to construct three water storage tanks on Inis Oírr and two tanks on Inis Meáin.
The project also includes the construction of a water main to transfer water between the Lacranna source to the water storage tanks on Inis Oírr. The pipeline is about 2km long and will be required to increase the supply capacity from the source to the storage tanks.
A recent hydrological study found, in order to provide a sustainable water supply on both of the islands, it would be necessary for Irish Water to provide additional water storage capacity on the islands.
The new tanks will increase the water storage on Inis Oírr by 9,000cubic metres and by 3,500 cubic metres on Inis Meáin which is equivalent to more than 100 days’ stored water supply on both islands.
The site selection process and surveys necessary to determine the final site required for the remaining proposed water storage tank on Inis Oírr are ongoing. It is planned that Irish Water will submit the final planning application by winter 2017.
Site investigation works are under way on both islands to inform the design of the proposed raw water storage tanks and raw water mains. These are expected to be completed this month.
Subject to planning approval it is expected that the main construction works will start next year.
Irish Water’s infrastructure programme regional lead Padraig Hanly said they are necessary so islanders can access water all year around:
“In recent years both islands, especially Inis Oírr has experienced water shortages due to prolonged periods of dry weather. As a result of this, Irish Water has previously had to tanker water from the mainland to the islands in order to ensure both islands had a sufficient supply of water.”
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