The long-running saga of a very substandard water supply to a rural community in Co Cork seems finally to be coming to an end.
More than 4,200 people living in the Ballydesmond area signed a petition recently to put pressure on Irish Water to finalise plans for a new supply scheme.
It seems to have paid off after the utility announced that it hopes to finalise the purchase of land for two reservoirs before the end of this year and complete the project within 12 months.
Irish Water confirmed it is to spend €1.8m to upgrade water supplies in Ballydesmond and Kiskeam. The water supply in the former has been described as unfit even for cattle.
An Irish Water spokesman said it plans to decommission the existing public water supplies at Ballydesmond and Kiskeam and construct a new water main, which will connect both of these supplies to the nearby Ballinatona scheme, which has a far better water quality.
The project will include the installation of a new 200mm water main linking the existing Ballinatona Water Scheme at Dromskarragh Beg to a new reservoir at Kiskeam.
Booster pumps will be installed at Kiskeam reservoir to pump water over the brow of the hill to a new reservoir at Ballydesmond.
A new 200mm diameter distribution water main will then be constructed from this reservoir to supply Ballydesmond village.
“Land negotiations for the two reservoir sites are ongoing and, on completion of these negotiations, a planning application will be submitted to Cork County Council. Tender documents for the new water main from Ballintona to Ballydesmond will also be issued on finalisation of these negotiations,” said the Irish Water spokesman.
He added that if agreements are finalised before the end of this year, the tenders for both the water main and reservoir construction projects would progress in 2017.
It is expected that the work would then take approximately 12 months to finish and “will significantly improve service to customers in the area”.
Irish Water has also recently approved a further €220,000 to replace 1.9km of old cast iron water main in the village of Ballydesmond itself and this will be included with these works.
Cllr Bernard Moynihan welcomed the news. He said the people of Ballydesmond in particular have suffered from a very bad supply for nearly 30 years and many travel miles to get proper water: “It’s so bad that you wouldn’t give it to cattle to drink.”
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