Hogan says water crisis will be over by Thursday
Minister for the Environment says he is confident matter will be resolved within days
The Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan , at a press conference after he visited the Ballymore Eustace plant , in Co. Kildare today. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said he expects the Dublin water crises to be over by Thursday this week.
Speaking after a visit to the Ballymore Eustace water treatment plant in Co Kildare, the source of the problem which has seen nightly water cuts for the capital for almost a week, Mr Hogan said he was confident the matter would be resolved within days .
“If progress continues between now and Thursday in the manner we have seen today we can be confident that Thursday will mean the lifting of restrictions”
However Dublin City Council said the restriction would be in place nightly from 8pm to 7am until next Thursday “at least” in an attempt to restore water production levels at the plant.
Mr Hogan said he understood that the city engineers were cautious about predicting an end to the difficulties , but he said he believed the solutions that had been put in place were beginning to bed down. “There was certainly a confidence among staff at the Ballymore Eustace plant today that these solutions are working well at the moment.”
In relation to calls from businesses, particularly in the restaurant sector that they be compensated for losses in trade as a result of the nightly cuts, Mr Hogan said he understood their difficulties but said this was a matter for the council. Water tankers were available to anyone who needed them he said, but he said the council had had very few requests for tankers and had few complaints in general in relation to the cuts.
“The staff and the expertise in trying to resolve the matter are doing a huge amount of work. I hope we are able to live with the restrictions that have been put there between now and Thursday and that will be the end of the matter.”
Mr Hogan had been critical of the council’s handling of the issue, particularly in relation to their failure to give notice of the cuts to business and residential consumers. He described this failure as a “hiccup” which the council had remedied.
“The hiccups that arose in the early days certainly have been surmounted the lessons that everybody has learned in this particular process in Dublin city council is that they must inform people in advance so that people can make contingency measures.”
The advent of Irish Water from January of next year would mark a end to the historic “underinvestment” and disjointed approach by local authorities in relation to in water infrastructure he said.
Investment in water services next year would be in the region of €300 million but he said he believed Irish Water would be spending €600 million by 2016
“Over a period of time they will be in a position to double the capital investment programme, I don’t expect they will be able to do it in 2015 but I do expect they will be close to it in 2016.”