Anger after Donegal homes left with no water for three days

Water went off in parts of west Donegal on Thursday evening

A local councillor says there is huge anger in parts of west Donegal at the latest water outage which left around 200 homes without supply for up to three days.

Homes and businesses in the Falcarragh and Gortahork areas were hit by a water burst on Thursday night and many did not have supply restored until late Sunday afternoon.

Irish Water said on Friday that the cut to supply was due to a burst on the rising main from the treatment plant at Ardsbeg to the treated water storage reservoir. It said it expected the water supply to be restored early on Friday afternoon.

But local councillor Seamus Ó Domhnaill said that the supply was not fully restored to homes and businesses in Falcarragh, Derryconnor, Meenlaragh, Glascherchoo, Meenaclady, and Shroughan until after 4pm today.

The cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council paid tribute to local Irish Water staff who he said did sterling work on the ground to restore the supply. But their efforts are masking a lack of investment in the pipe network in the area, he said.

The water burst was the latest in a series in the area. The water supply was previously interrupted on April 11 and was not restored for two days, Cllr Ó Domnhaill said.

Irish Water said it has “identified critical mains with repeated burst history in the Falcarragh, Gortahork area”.  

“The existing pipework is asbestos concrete which was a common pipe material in the 1980s. These tend to burst quite frequently as they reach the end of their lifecycle. Irish Water is assessing the next phase of mains replacement works under its National Leakage Reduction Programme,” the company said.

He said the aging pipe network in the area cannot cope with the high pressure of water from the new water treatment plant.

Cllr Ó Domhnaill said the water burst had cost local businesses thousands of euro and had caused huge inconvenience to homes, businesses, and farmers.

“I am calling for immediate investment in the rising main which runs for 2km between the treatment plant and the reservoir and investment in the network in Derryconnor, Meenlaragh, Glascherchoo, Meenaclady and Shroughan,” he said.

An angry Cllr Ó Domhnaill said: “The difficulty is people are totally and utterly frustrated with Irish Water customer service. People rang yesterday and when they rang again today they were told there was no record of their call. They are annoyed with the lack of compassion, bad customer service and lack of investment in the area. People are at breaking point.”

He said he believed the lack of investment in the area and the slow response is due to the policy of a government “which has turned it back on rural Ireland”.

“This is a prime example. If this was in Dublin or Galway it would be fixed straight away,” he said.

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