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Tuesday 12 December 2017

State pours €470m into water plant to combat shortages

Shane Hickey

THE Government plans to spend €470m pumping 350 million litres of water from the midlands to Dublin via a landmark new water-treatment facility.

Dublin City Council yesterday outlined plans for the massive plant on the border of Offaly and Laois, which it aims to complete by 2016.

Planners hope the development will tackle the shortage of water in Dublin and the counties around it.

Treatment plants are currently working at over-capacity.

Details of the development at Garryhinch, 10km from Portarlington, came just a few weeks after it emerged that 40 major road projects and key rail and Luas projects have been scrapped because there is no money to build them.

The facility at Garryhinch is expected to pump 350 million litres of water a day from the Shannon River.

Eco business

As part of the development, Dublin City Council plans on putting in place an "eco business" on the site to attract tourists and generate income, similar to a water treatment facility in the UK -- the Rutland Water Natural Reserve.

The greater Dublin area uses some 540 million litres of water a day. Existing water-treatment facilities produce 518 million litres.

Under the plans by the council, the new facility -- which is expected to be based on a 500-acre piece of bog owned by Bord na Mona -- will supply the four Dublin local authorities as well as Meath, Wicklow, Kildare, Offaly and Westmeath.

"Every now and then, you reach a point where patching and mending your existing resources just won't get you to the next stage," said Dublin City Council executive manager Tom Leahy.

The council says the proposal will take two years to go through the planning process before it reaches An Bord Pleanala for a decision. It will then take another four years to build the facility.

The initial estimated cost is €470m. It will cost €8m every year to operate from 2020, rising to €15m in 2040 when it reaches full capacity.

Some 1,000 jobs are expected to be created during the construction of the facility and there will be 300 permanent positions when it is finished.

Irish Independent

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