No running water in over 2,000 households, according to CSO

Almost 2,260 households with no sewerage facility – 900 of those reported by over-65s

More than 2,000 households are without running water, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

A total of 2,267 households reported having no piped water supply with the over-65 age cohort accounting for close to half of those (990). Similarly, 2,257 households said they had no sewerage facility with 900 of those reported by over-65s.

The CSO is monitoring how Ireland is progressing towards meeting its targets under the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which includes provision of clean water and sanitation.

There was universal access to safely managed drinking water and sewerage facilities at the time of the last census in 2016, according to the CSO while “almost all” the urban waste water collected in Ireland’s public sewers is treated.


However, treatment at 19 of the country’s 172 large towns and cities, including Dublin and Cork, failed to meet EU standards set to prevent pollution.

By mid-2020 there were 35 towns and villages continuing to release raw sewage into the country’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

CSO senior statistician Kevin McCormack said most waste water is treated at plants designed to provide secondary treatment (67 per cent) or secondary treatment with nutrient removal (30 per cent).

“A small amount, one per cent, is conveyed to plants that provide a more basic form of treatment, known as primary treatment. The remainder [1.4 per cent] is collected and discharged directly into the water environment without any treatment,” he said.

More than 56,000 households did not state what access they had to a sewerage system while more than 48,000 homes did not provide details as to their water supply.

Mains supply

The majority (77 per cent) of households received their water from a public mains supply, 8 per cent from group water schemes while private water sources accounted for 10 per cent of homes.

Public sewerage schemes accounted for 67 per cent of all households, individual septic tanks 26 per cent of domestic sewerage facilities, while “other” sewerage systems accounted for 4 per cent of homes.

The data also showed that the main problem damaging the country’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters is the presence of “too much nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen” which come primarily from agriculture and waste water.

More than one -third of rivers had “unsatisfactory phosphate concentrations”.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times