Clonakilty’s water shortage is expected to be resolved within a year, leaving the area ready for renewed development.
According to Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard and Cllr John O’Sullivan, a contract to upgrade the water supply scheme is to be awarded to Ward and Burke Construction Ltd.
Cllr O’Sullivan said the contract has been ‘fast-tracked’ to include the construction of a water interconnector pipe from Baxter’s Bridge in Bandon to Jones’ Bridge in Clonakilty.
Baxter’s Bridge is the extraction point for water out of the Bandon River for Bandon – where there is, at present, a sufficient supply – while Jones’ Bridge is the extraction point from the Argideen River for the Clonakilty supply.
Cllr O’Sullivan said the project is to begin in July, and is likely to take between eight months to a year to complete.
However, Irish Water said no contract has been signed at this stage, and that the project is still at 'an early planning stage.'
‘After years complaining about how the water supply deficit was delaying construction, people might think this is an April Fool’s joke,’ he added, ‘but the project is going ahead and it will resolve the water supply problem in the greater Clonakilty area,' Cllr O'Sullivan confidently predicted.
Cllr O’Sullivan, who attended a virtual meeting with Senator Tim Lombard and Irish Water representatives, said, ‘This is essential for the future development of housing, business and tourism, as well as the strategic development of an area that stretches from Courtmacsherry to Rosscarbery.’
Senator Lombard explained that the peak demand for water in the Clonakilty area is 7.5 million litres per day, but there is only 5.9 million litres available.
‘Taking into account the projected increase in demand,’ he said, ‘there is an estimated water supply deficit of more than 2 million litres per day.’
He said Irish Water will continue to extract 5.9 million litres per day but they will ‘protect the supply’ by replacing water mains in a bid to reduce leakage.
An upgrade of the facility at Jones’ Bridge alone is expected to yield 0.45 million litres per day by reducing leaks, he added.
Meanwhile, he explained that another project – the Darrara mains replacement scheme which commenced in January – will also significantly cut loss through leaks and breaks in the water mains.
It has been estimated that these measures alone could alleviate Clonakilty’s water demand for a period of two years.
However, the long-term solution – the construction of a 400mm pipeline from Baxter’s Bridge to Jones’ Bridge – will go ahead and provide a more lasting solution.
It has been estimated that this 14km pipeline will allow for an additional 0.8 million litres per day.