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Leaking pipes add to water shortage worries as capital grows

MORE than 150 million litres of water is lost in greater Dublin every day through leaking pipes.

Although leakage has been cut by a quarter, the water loss is still a huge problem as the system strains to cope with rising demand. Plans are now underway to source water from the Shannon to avert water shortages in Dublin over the next five years.

And Dublin City Council is to launch a major campaign this week to encourage people living in the city to conserve water.

A huge project will increase the amount of water the Ballymore-Eustace plant can release from 250 million litres to 275 million a day by September. It is also planned to increase supply from Ballymore-Eustace by another 45 million litres per day by 2010.

And plans are at a preliminary stage to source water from the Shannon for the Dublin area, which includes all four Dublin local authorities as well as parts of Wicklow, Kildare, and Meath. Kildare Co Council has finalised proposals to extract water from the River Barrow to reduce its dependency on the five plants that service the Dublin area.

The moves all stem from a warning five years ago that Dublin's population boom would lead to a water crisis by 2005.

"We are constantly looking at ways in which we can increase capacity to keep pace with the growing population," said Brian McKeown, engineer with the council's water service division.

A total of ?118m is being spent over the next five years on replacing most of the capital's leaking pipes. However, water demand is forecast to be 700m litres per day by 2031 so much work is still needed to avoid a serious water shortage.

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