Irish Water to spend €5.5bn on capital expenditure by 2021

Burst water pipes caused disruption in Navan this week.

Irish Water plans to have spent €5.5bn on its capital expenditure between its foundation in 2014 and 2021, the utility has told an Oireachtas committee — but says the funding of the scheme is a matter for the Government.

A document submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Supply states that by 2021, Irish Water aims to have spent €1.364bn on infrastructure and a further €1.25bn each on drinking water capacity and wastewater quality over the same period.

Furthermore, the utility said it will look to have made capital investments of €950m on drinking water quality and another €700m on wastewater capacity by 2021.

The capital expenditure plan states that just over €2bn has been spent up to the end of last year — €574m of which went on metering.

Irish Water said it has 918 water treatment plants, 1,102 waste water treatment plants 63,000km of water mains, 32,000km of sewers, but “too many plants for a country of our size” and twice as many as in the UK.

In its submission to the committee, Irish Water said it will spend almost €2.1bn on water and wastewater projects between 2017 and 2021.

Dublin will receive the largest allocation, with €827m being spent in the capital, followed by Cork (€305m), and Donegal (€151m).

The submission says that Irish Water plans to reduce to zero the number of people at risk of contamination and the number of those on boil water notices.

At the end of 2016, there were 38 locations discharging raw sewage, which Irish Water says it aims to eradicate by 2021, while also eliminating all cases in breach of EU Wastewater Directives in the same timeframe.

However, on the topic of the allocation of resources, a spokesperson said: “Ultimately, the overall scale of funding is a matter for Government, having regard to the assessment of needs by Irish Water.

“The repair and upgrading of Irish Water’s water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plants, water and sewer network will require a multi-billion euro investment programme over many years.

“At the same time we have to dedicate over €100m- €200m per year to maintaining existing assets in good working order.

“One of our key goals is that the same standard of service for water and waste water will apply no matter where you live in the country. Achieving this objective will take time, according to the varying condition of the assets.”

A spokesperson said that, while a significant part of the budget will always be devoted to developing infrastructure, the company’s strategy over the past four years had been a capital programme over a large number of assets “to make systematic improvements to enable the existing infrastructure to deliver the best possible service in the short and medium term”.

“The business plan sets out €1.1bn in operational efficiencies through reducing the cost of repairs and maintenance, payroll, energy, contracting and existing industry outlays.”


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