Parteen Basin earmarked for water extraction project

Parteen Basin earmarked for water extraction project

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The ESB Weir at Parteen during serious flooding 6 years ago on November 24th 2009
The ESB Weir at Parteen during serious flooding 6 years ago on November 24th 2009

Irish Water’s consideration of four preferred options for developing a new source of drinking water supply for the Eastern and Midlands Region has found that the abstraction at Parteen Basin has the least environmental impact.

The Parteen Basin is located south of Lough Derg and close to the point where counties Clare, Tipperary and Limerick meet. Irish Water is proposing the construction of a 165km pipeline from a reservoir on the Tipperary side of the Parteen Basin.

Over 40% of Ireland’s population lives in the Eastern and Midlands region and work has been on-going for 8 years to identify a new and sustainable water source to enable the region to grow into the future.

Over the past two years Irish Water, has considered the need for a new source of water supply for the Region and has identified abstraction of water at Parteen Basin as Irish Water’s emerging preferred option.

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The Parteen Basin was one of four emerging preferred options considered by Irish Water

The report states: “Abstraction at Parteen Basin has the least environmental impact of the four options under consideration. It can avail of existing ‘hydro-power’ infrastructure which ensures that the proposed water abstraction can be implemented within existing normal operating water levels and with no impact on statutory flow requirements in the Lower Shannon, meaning that there is very limited impact on the lake.”

“Abstraction from hydro-power facilities is common practice worldwide and the Parteen Basin option will use only a small fraction (approximately 2%) of ‘hydro-power’ water that would otherwise have been used for power generation and then discharged to sea. Importantly, the proposed new scheme also creates multiple opportunities to supply treated water to communities in the vicinity of Parteen Basin and along a route corridor from Parteen Basin to Dublin. Counties to be supplied include Clare, Tipperary, Offaly, Laois, Westmeath, Kildare, Meath and Dublin.”

The Preliminary Options Appraisal Report concludes that desalination, as the only other potentially viable option at this stage of the project, is much less suitable than the Parteen Basin option, due primarily to higher costs, being a Dublin-centric solution, and being a less environmentally friendly option with a considerably higher energy requirement, chemical usage and brine discharge,” the statement added.

Clare Fianna Fáil General Election candidate Michael McDonagh said: “This preferred option would see up to 330 million litres of water per day extracted from the Shannon. Irish Water claims that these options would “have minimal impact” on the river in the Limerick area. I am totally opposed to any plans which involve the removal of water from the River Shannon/Lough Derg or the Parteen Basin.”

He added: “First off, and most obviously, Dublin City Council need to upgrade their Victorian Era water infrastructure to remove the wastage caused by leaks. 800 Million litres of water are lost every day through leaks in the existing water infrastructure nationally. The figure for all local authorities in Dublin is 33%, with Dublin city losing 38% of supply through leaks. Taking water from the Shannon without first fixing the leaks will result in 33-38% of the water taken being lost to leaks, where is the sense in that?”

Details of a ten week public consultation process now under way inviting views on the content and findings of the Report are available on www.watersupplyproject.ie.

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