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Monday 20 November 2017

Fix leaks -- don't steal our water, council told

Kathryn Hayes

A NEW group has been formed in an attempt to prevent millions of litres of water being "plundered" from the River Shannon in order to service Dublin's growing population.

The controversial plan by Dublin City Council would see water extracted at a rate of 500 million litres per day from Terryglass at the top of Lough Derg.

According to the Shannon Protection Alliance (SPA), this equates roughly to the amount of water that leaks from Dublin's water delivery system.

The group has urged Dublin City Council to fix water leaks and conserve water instead of "plundering" the Shannon, which supplies 1.5 million people living in its catchment area.

The newly formed Limerick branch of the SPA says it has joined forces with other branches -- Athlone and Dromineer -- in opposing the proposals on ecological, environmental, commercial and social grounds.

Speaking at the Hunt Museum in Limerick yesterday, SPA spokesman P J Walsh outlined the reasons why the council's plan should be opposed.

Mr Walsh said the plan contravened the EU Water Framework Directive because of the lack of consultation and failure to address the many adverse effects of any such plan.

He warned that if it was to proceed, it would spell the end of all planning and development in cities, towns and villages situated on the Shannon,

"Large-scale water abstraction increases the increase of blue-green algae blooms, a known carcinogenic. Do we need to increase the risk of cancer incidence in the Shannon basin," he asked.

"Immediate drops in water levels throughout the Shannon catchment area will bring about the irreversible demise of tourism, leisure activities, angling, agriculture, hotel and accommodation interests and the destruction of the Shannon's fragile ecology will be damaged to such an extent it will never recover even if the water abstraction were to be discontinued.

"Dublin City Council has refused to concede a shutdown of the pipeline if the damage to our Shannon becomes apparent. Can you cut off the water supply to more than one million people," he asked.


Outlining the threats specific to the Limerick area, SPA branch spokesman Gerry Siney said the council had "completely ignored" the interests of people in the local region.

He also said the local authority could solve its water supply needs without recourse to Shannon waters and claimed insufficient consideration had been given to conservation, groundwater abstraction, desalination, water-metering, rainwater harvesting, and use of grey water (recycled wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry and dishwashing).

"In assessing the potential for negative effects at various points along the course of the river, Dublin City Council has completely ignored the people and interests of the Limerick area. They have effectively said that Limerick doesn't matter."

According to Mr Siney the Limerick branch of the SPA will now engage in an active campaign of awareness.

Irish Independent

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