Joe Higgins, Regional Director in Veolia Ireland, was invited on to The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk to discuss a range of topics about water in Ireland.
During the course of a wide ranging discussion Joe and Pat chatted about how water scarcity is one of the major risks we face, as highlighted by the World Economic Forum. This is driven by population growth, limited fresh water supply and the historic lack of investment in water infrastructure. In the greater Dublin area, we have a buffer of about 2% of capacity over demand which means that anything – a dry spell, freezing weather, a surge in demand can lead us immediately into problems.
There are a number of solutions that can and are being implemented. These are
- Continue with the programme of fixing leaks. This is very necessary and Irish Water is making good progress but it is not enough on its own
- Upgrade the existing facilities. We are currently working on upgrading the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Vartry water treatment plant for Irish Water as well as numerous other projects around the country from Donegal to Kerry. This investment by Irish Water is vital and needs to continue
- The third strand is increasing capacity through new projects. Pat and Joe discussed the Eastern and Midlands Water Supply Project, which is about using water from the River Shannon to serve the Midlands, the Eastern Seaboard and the Greater Dublin Area, and the Greater Dublin Drainage Scheme, which will provide additional wastewater treatment capacity for North Dublin and parts of Meath and Kildare.