Proposed pipeline could lead to ‘years of disruption and uncertainty’

Emma Kennedy, the founder of Kennedy Analysis, has stated that it will be “very difficult” for farmers located along the route of the proposed Shannon-Dublin pipeline to accept “years” of serious disruption and potential “long-term” flooding or contamination risks.

Kennedy claims the entire project is “demonstrably unnecessary”.

The corporate lawyer – whose husband has a family farm near Nenagh that would be directly impacted by the proposed pipeline – alleges that the picture painted by Irish Water to AgriLand last week in relation to Dublin’s leakage was “misleading.”

Irish Water, she contended, was “dismissive” of the need to replace Dublin’s water pipes.

“The company has stated that concentrating solely on fixing the leaks may seem ‘a logical plan’ on paper. However, it would not be possible to fix all of the leaks in the network.

This is misleading. Nobody is suggesting that Irish Water could fix all of Dublin’s leaks. The point is that if Dublin had normal leakage levels; it would have a huge spare capacity of extra water available every day.

“If Dublin’s 2015 total leakage had been 20%; it would have had 112% spare capacity. 112% spare capacity is unheard of – it is absolutely enormous,” said Kennedy, who recently appeared on RTE 1 television programme Prime Time to discuss the campaign against the pipeline.

Neglect

“Irish Water made excuses for the position in Dublin by saying that the UK has taken 20-25 years of sustained investment to reach the low to mid 20% figures today.

For the past 22 years, while the UK has been fixing its leaks, Dublin has been discussing the Shannon pipeline – while simultaneously neglecting Dublin’s water pipes.

“For the past decade, the average annual spend on replacing water mains for the entire state  – not just for Dublin – was less than 1% of the anticipated cost of the Shannon pipeline,” she said.

“Dublin has a history of setting unambitious leakage targets and failing to meet them. Dublin’s problem is not a lack of water – only around 43% of the water put into Dublin’s water supply system every day is actually used,” she claimed.

“Dublin’s problem is its water pipes. They are so old and corroded that most of the water put into them is wasted through leaks; and when they come under extra stress – for example during a cold snap – they give way causing mains bursts and water outages,” she said.

Have people been lulled into the false belief that the Shannon pipeline would fix Dublin’s problems? Has the Shannon project been a distraction that has contributed to Dublin’s pipes being in the state they are in today? Quite possibly. This should not be allowed to continue.

Consultation report

Irish Water told AgriLand last week that all feedback on the preferred scheme for a new water supply for the eastern and midlands region “had been considered” by the project team.

The company said the feedback will be summarised in the consultation report to be published in the coming weeks.

“Consultations with affected landowners and landowner representative organisations will continue,” Irish Water said.