Irish Water’s Options Working Paper on the proposed water supply for the Great Dublin Area has been dismissed by local people opposed to it.
The paper outlines an independent review of all previous studies undertaken on providing a new source of water supply for Dublin and the Eastern and Midlands Region, and, according to Irish Water, finding a sustainable new source of drinking water to cater for population and economic growth in this area has been a key priority for the past decade.
Among the options are extracting water from Lough Derg, abstracting water from the lake and storing in a a new reservoir in County Laois, taking it from the Parteen Basin or desalination.
“They are hell bent on coming to Lough Derg,” said Declan Collison, who runs Lough Derg House in Dromineer and who has been against the plan from the start through the River Shannon Protection Alliance. “They have already at an earlier stage ruled out desalination.”
He agreed that the options amounted to Lough Derg and nothing else.
Mr Collison pointed out that water levels in the lake had been low over the past while and questioned whether this was linked to experimentation to see how low levels could be driven.
“Buoys have been placed in the lake to gather data. Will this data be freely available? The people putting them down were camera shy and disappeared when approached,” he said.
“Among our main concerns are the environmental impact and the effect on tourism. It is a major economic driver for the Mid West and Midlands. Our future depends on attracting major industry but our potential will be gone if we allow water to be transferred to Dublin,” said Mr Collison.
“This whole proposal is unnecessary at a time when things are starting to happen,” he said, pointing out that a canoe trail was being developed around Lough Derg, and the area was being used by groups for everything from sailing to charity cycles.
“Clare County Council has just bought Holy Island, but what is the point if you can’t get access because of water levels,” he said.
He said the Shannon Protection Alliance’s own needs report pointed out that the figures used to justify abstraction were flawed. “Irish Water has admitted that Dublin usage has levelled off. They are now pushing the figures out and playing with numbers,” he said
The consultation proecss will run until August 4, and Mr Collison urged all boat hire operators, angling interests and local politicians to make a submission through www.watersupplyproject.ie