Dáil Éireann - Volume 608 - 25 October, 2005
Written Answers. - Water Quality.
Mr. Crawford Mr. Crawford
163. Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the level of water estimated to be lost through leaks in water mains; the cost of these leaks; the action he proposes to take; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30358/05]
Mr. Roche Mr. Roche
Mr. Roche:While local authorities are responsible for the operation and maintenance of their public water supply systems, my Department has undertaken a number of initiatives over the years to assist authorities to optimise the management, quality and efficiency of such systems.
In 1996, following publication of the greater Dublin water supply strategic study, a new of capital funding line was introduced to help reduce unaccounted for water levels in local authority distribution networks, to improve the quality of supply to consumers, to lower operating costs and to maximise the value of investment in capital works. A series of pilot schemes to identify potential improvements, as well as some physical work on network rehabilitation, was undertaken as a first measure. Project locations included Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Limerick, Athlone and Clonmel. All of these schemes have now been completed with the aid of capital funding of €63 million from my Department. The results show that unaccounted for water rates have reduced considerably. For example, in Dublin they have fallen from 42.5% to 28.7%, in Donegal from 59% to 39%, in Meath from 47% to 34% and in Kilkenny from 45% to 29%.
The results of my Department’s later national water study, which involved an audit of all public water supplies outside the greater Dublin area serving more than 5,000 consumers, were published in March 2000. The national water study examined 91 water supply schemes operated by 38 local authorities and reported on all aspects of water supply, including availability of raw water, treatment capacity, water distribution systems and associated management issues. The study found, inter alia, that unaccounted for water levels varied significantly between regions but were generally in the range of between 40% to 50%.
In May 2003 my Department allocated a further €276 million to local authorities to iden tify and substantially reduce unaccounted for water in public supply networks. The bulk of the allocation, €194 million, was provided for network rehabilitation or replacement works by authorities that had carried out water management system studies under the earlier pilot phase. The balance of €82 million will enable the remaining authorities to proceed with water management system studies as a necessary precursor to structural rehabilitation works. Details of allocations to individual authorities are set out in my Department’s water services investment programme 2004-06 which is available in the Oireachtas Library.
Detailed information on the cost of unaccounted for water in the public water supply system generally is not available in my Department. There are variations in the production costs of water between local authorities and, in addition, not all unaccounted for water is lost through leakage. A significant proportion relates to unauthorised or unrecorded connections. The universal metering of all non-domestic consumers which is scheduled for completion by end 2006, coupled with the local authorities’ ongoing water management system studies, will significantly improve the range of data available in this area and further help to reduce the levels of unaccounted for water.
Dáil Éireann 608 Written Answers. Water Quality.