THE cost of replacing a main water pipe in Ballinhassig and Fivemilebridge has skyrocketed from €1.175m to €3.7m - 215% - in four years.
At a meeting of the local authority this week, councillors were flabbergasted at a report from Irish Water which outlined their approach to fixing the main water pipe which regularly leaves homes and business in the area without a supply.
Cllr Aidan Lombard (FG) said the situation has gone beyond acceptable and that each outage results in Ballinhassig closing.
‘Back in 2016, €1.175m was sanctioned for the replacement of all the 4.7km main water pipe. However Irish Water changed their mind and now they are suggesting the same scheme will cost 215% more at €3.7m,’ said Cllr Lombard, who added that the response ‘isn’t fair or accurate.’
‘I work in construction and 7% is the inflation not 200% and how can this be justified?’
In its report, Irish Water outlined 10 breaks on the main water pipe since early 2018 but Cllr Lombard that the date that should be used for the amount of outages is December 2016.
‘To add insult to injury these businesses are getting bills for a standing charge while they were closed. They never know if water will be there or not and Irish Water feels it’s appropriate to bill them for a service they don’t supply with any certainty.’
Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind) said the disruption that this is causing to the residents and business people of Ballinhassig is unbelievable.
‘It’s a disgraceful situation and from looking at the report from Irish Water it’s after costing €100,000 over two and a half years to repair the leak. They’re telling us to conserve water yet there’s 80,000 litres of water pouring out of the pipes when burst,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.
Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) added: ‘What is most telling about Irish Water is that we asked them to have a meeting specifically about this pipe and they refused. The lack of transparency in Irish Water is flabbergasting,’ said Cllr Coughlan.‘I’ve had this issue with them time and again in Bandon with the main drainage scheme and in Ballinhassig. We have to ask ourselves as public representatives, who rules the roost in Irish Water and where is the accountability? It’s a disgrace.’
Councillors agreed that they would write back to Irish Water to get clearer details of water breaks in Ballinhassig and Fivemilebridge.