Donegal councillor claims towns forced to choose between dirty brown water contaminated with toxins or no water pressure

Irish Water's budget for pipeline replacement in 2020 has been significantly reduced

Donegal councillor claims towns forced to choose between dirty brown water contaminated with toxins or no water pressure

Who prioritises and funds which old leaking water mains are to be replaced across the county?

A Finn Valley councillor has queried who prioritises and funds which old leaking water mains are to be replaced across the county.

Cllr Patrick McGowan has claimed that it has resulted in residents in towns like Castlefinn having to choose between dirty brown water contaminated with toxins or no pressure.

He raised the issue at the last meeting of Donegal County Council where he was told by the acting director of water and environment, Michael McGarvey, that Irish Water was the Water Services Authority with responsibility for the delivery of water services.

"In relation to expenditure on capital works Irish Water determines the allocation of funding for its various work programmes within the overall envelope of expenditure that the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities determines that Irish Water should receive from exchequer funding.

"Donegal County Council operate under a Service Level Agreement with Irish Water with respect to a variety of water service activities and its water service staff make regular submissions to Irish Water in relation to sections of the water distribution network that require replacement.

He added there were a variety of reasons why council staff recommended that pipelines should be replaced and these include water quality, burst frequency, leakage rates, pipeline material and age, co-ordination with road surfacing or reconstruction programmes, pipeline accessibility or a number of these reasons in combination.

"In determining which pipelines should be replaced Irish Water also uses information they have collected from their own systems which will include data from customer and elected representative engagements, leakage detection systems, etc.

"Since 2014 Irish Water has replaced approximately 115km of existing water pipeline in County Donegal. This is in addition to approximately 40km of new pipelines that have been installed to link existing supply areas not previously connected to each other," he said.

Mr McGarvey added that Castlefinn was supplied from the Lough Mourne Water Supply Scheme via a pipeline from Goland to Crossroads to Killygordon and through Liscooley to Castlefinn.

"Approximately 12km of old cast iron sections of this pipeline has been replaced in the last five years. Donegal County Council staff have made recommendations to Irish Water on further sections of old cast iron pipelines in Castlefinn that should be replaced.

"However, Irish Water's budget for pipeline replacement in 2020 has been significantly reduced with respect to the budget in recent years, therefore, Irish Water will not fund these works in 2020," he said.

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