Water supply will be huge challenge in Ireland in coming years, event hears

Acceleration of other forms of renewable energy will also be a major trend

The basic supply of water is going to be a huge challenge in Ireland in the coming years, a forum on sustainability in business has heard. The acceleration of other forms of renewable energy in Ireland would also be a major trend.

Speaking at the 2021 Business to Arts CEO Forum in association with PwC, Ervia Group chief executive Cathal Marley said ensuring there was adequate water supply in the future would be an issue.

“We probably always thought that was an issue globally somewhere else, but it will be a big issue in Ireland – water supply to support not just the economic development, but also the spatial development in terms of where you can locate, because that is a huge, huge issue, “ he said.

“Water quality we will deal with; it’s going to take time but it will be dealt with. The same with waste water in terms of polluting seas and rivers; that can be dealt with but it’s going to take a long time.”

He compared not having an adequate water supply to not having electricity, claiming the former was worse.

Mr Marley also highlighted the issue of renewable energy, saying Ireland had to accelerate other forms of clean energy, including hydrogen, biomethane and solar energy.

“All of those things need to be accelerated to decarbonise the energy sector,” he said. “There are other massive new technologies that we are developing around carbon capture. So I think that’s going to be the trend.”

Government aid

The forum was also told that small businesses could also benefit from Government aid when it comes to decarbonising their business transport. An Post chief executive, David McRedmond, said issues such as the cost of electric vehicles and a more comprehensive charging network could be addressed at a Government level.

Mr McRedmond said An Post has already made its fleet in Irish cities such as Dublin, Limerick and Galway zero emission by switching to electric delivery vehicles. It will make a similar announcement for Cork in the coming weeks.

However, other issues such as heavy goods vehicles, are more difficult to solve, he said. “The technology is an enormous barrier.”

However, An Post has been looking into other sustainable fuels such as the use of vegetable oil to power HGVs.

The event invited chief executives and leaders across business and the arts sectors in Ireland to share knowledge and discuss emerging ideas in their sectors. Among the panellists were Tania Banotti, director of Creative Ireland, and Virginia Teehan, chief executive of the Heritage Council.