Problems in Mid-Kerry to cost Irish Water €360k

Mary Murphy

ONGOING problems with the mid-Kerry water supply could cost Irish Water an estimated €360,000 per annum but the problems could be solved in a short time if money is invested in upgrading the water infrastructure.

That was the message this week from Kerry County Council engineers who say the €855,000 cost of replacing the clapped out 4.75km section of trunk main in the scheme would give the project a potential payback period of less than three years.

KCC Water Services Engineer John Kennelly described it as the "most problematic" network in the county and said it was subject to frequent bursts, the most recent of which occurred just last Wednesday.

In draft notes for a submission to Irish Water Kerry County Council revealed there has been 10 major leaks on the Mid-Kerry water network since the beginning of the year with each costing between €2,000 and €3,000 to repair. Based on the recent history in the area KCC estimate pipeline repairs costs at €100,000 per annum.

In addition, with water outages typically lasting between six and 36 hours, providing tankers to deliver emergency supplies to householders is estimated at €110,000 a year. KCC also highlighted a potential loss of income from water charges to Irish water of €130,000 per annum.

Figures from KCC suggest that the annual cost of not replacing the section could amount to €340,000 in comparison to the estimated cost of €855,000 for replacing the pipeline and solving the problem permanently.

In its draft submission KCC proposes carrying out the work using direct labour crews to speed up the process due to the urgent nature of the works.

Responding to the latest figures Cllr Michael Cahill described the ongoing situation as "an absolute nightmare" for residents and businesses in mid-Kerry and said the onus is on Irish Water to provide the funding and address the mater with immediate effect.

"This has developed into a very serious crisis for everyone in Beaufort, Killorglin, Dromin, Gurrane, Caragh Lake, Coolrue, Coolbane, Callinafercy and Milltown," Cllr Cahill said.