Dublin region will need over 33% more water than system can provide within 20 years

Project to channel water from river Shannon vital to secure supply, says Uisce Éireann

Uisce Éireann says supply for the east and midlands is overly dependent on the river Liffey. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Dublin region will need more than one-third more water than the system can provide within the next 20 years, according to the State’s water utility.

Uisce Éireann has said the water supply for the eastern and midlands region is far too dependent on the river Liffey, which is the main water source for 1.7 million people in the Greater Dublin Area.

In an opening statement submitted in advance of its appearance at the Oireachtas housing committee on Tuesday, Uisce Éireann has said that by 2024 the region will “need 34 per cent more water that our current system can provide”.

Its chief executive, Niall Gleeson, will tell the committee that the deficit caused by this will not only have an impact on human health but will also constrain inward investment, and the demands for housing.


He has said the overdependency on the Liffey is not sustainable. “We lack resilience because we are extremely sensitive to drought and contamination. It also means we lack the necessary supply to meet the needs of our growing population and economy in addition to meeting the impacts of climate change.”

The Water Supply Project is a multibillion-euro plan to extract water from the river Shannon to be used in the midlands and east. Uisce Éireann says this new project will provide a safe and secure supply for the foreseeable future.

However, several groups have been formed in communities close to the river Shannon in North Tipperary and in Co Offaly to oppose the project.

The water utility has argued that new connections along the “spine” will supply water to communities in Tipperary, Offaly and Westmeath. It has argued it will also allow water supplying Dublin to be redirected to Louth, Meath, Carlow and Wicklow.

“All in all, this project will directly benefit 2.5 million people across the country and support sustainable growth across the region,” said Mr Gleeson.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, the committee chairman Steve Matthews said the utility was responsible for the delivery of secure, safe and sustainable public water services.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times