Roscommon to remain top of leak-rate table

While most local authorities are losing 40% of their water supply through leaks, the figure for Roscommon is 62%

Roscommon has had to cope with boil water notices affecting thousands of householders, and the Dáil heard in December that northeast Roscommon would not have clean water until March 2017

Roscommon has had to cope with boil water notices affecting thousands of householders, and the Dáil heard in December that northeast Roscommon would not have clean water until March 2017

 

Irish Water has confirmed it will be many years before the county with the greatest number of leaks in the country will see the amount of wasted water cut to the national average.

While most local authorities are losing 40 per cent of their water supply through leaks, the figure for Roscommon is 62 per cent – by some margin the worst rate in the country.

The county has had to cope with boil water notices affecting thousands of householders, and the Dáil heard in December that northeast Roscommon would not have clean water until March 2017.

Causes

Head of asset management at Irish Water Jerry Grant said: “First of all the county is rural and that means there’s a lot more pipe per connection, with the result that you’d expect it to be higher than a more urbanised county. But that’s only part of the story.

“I know that in relatively recent years the county council took over a lot of group schemes into public supply. These weren’t in particularly good condition and that, I think, is a contributing factor to the problem as well.”

Mr Grant insisted Roscommon was already a priority area for Irish Water, and efforts were under way to take 20,000 residents across five schemes off boil water notices.

However he admitted it would take time to reduce the leakage rate down to national norms. “The first thing we’ve been doing is commissioning over 105 separate district meter areas with their own meters, so that we can then begin to quantify the leakage by each of those sub-areas.

“Clearly, then you can begin to focus your efforts on the worst areas to begin with. It’s for that reason that we think we can make reasonable progress from 2015 on.

“I would, however, say that it will be many years before Roscommon gets down to the mid- 30s, which is where it should certainly be.

“This has become an even more important issue in Roscommon because we’re been investing a huge amount of money in water treatment plants in the county, and that means, of course, that the water is much more expensive to produce.”