IRISH Water has responded to the recent criticisms made by Cork County Council members, who claimed the utility was holding up plans for repairing West Cork roads.
In response, a spokesperson for Irish Water contacted The Southern Star to say Irish Water ‘is committed at all times to minimising disruption to the public when carrying out essential maintenance work, such as replacing defective watermains.’
It added that it works closely with Cork County Council to ensure that this work does not impact on planned road projects. ‘While all efforts will be made to identify opportunities to reduce costs and disruption to the public by carrying out watermains rehabilitation work in advance of planned roadworks, the priority will be given to projects that will result in a better quality water supply and reduced disruption for our customers, in line with the Irish Water business plan,’ the statement added.
It said that since its establishment, Irish Water has provided significant funding to address the problems caused by historic under-investment in the watermains infrastructure in Cork so that customers can enjoy a secure, reliable supply of high quality water. To date, over €17.5m has been approved to replace 130km of ageing and defective watermains in the county, including significant work in the West Cork area,’ it claimed.
In Dunmanway, funding of more than €530,000 has been approved to replace over 3km of old watermains, according to the utiliy. ‘This work is intended to address water quality issues in the area that are linked to old cast iron pipes, leading to a more reliable water supply for customers in the area. Irish Water is currently developing a detailed plan for watermains rehabilitation in Cork for the 2017-2021 investment period. In line with this, we will continue to work closely with Cork County Council to identify and prioritise areas where watermains rehabilitation is needed most urgently,’ the statement said.
Kate Gannon, water conservation strategy specialist with Irish Water said: ‘As part of our watermains rehabilitation strategy in Cork, we are prioritising mains that will deliver multiple benefits in terms of quality improvements, burst repairs and leakage. Where these coincide with roadworks, we take full advantage of opportunities to share costs and turn around approvals as a priority.’
She added: ‘By continuing to work closely with Cork County Council to identify these key projects, we do not anticipate any instance where a delay in approving funding for essential mains replacement work would impact on planned road projects.’