Councillor not happy with Achill water back-up plan

ACTION needs to be taken to ensure Achill has an adequate water supply to meet seasonal demand.

An audit carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last September found the treatment plant does not have the resilience to deal with the summer increase when the population of the island doubles and sometimes trebles.

And local Councillor Paul McNamara wants to know what back-up plan Irish Water and the county council have in place for this summer.

He raised the issue again at a local municipal district meeting where he said funding of €250,000 had been allocated for refurbishment works to resolve issues with aluminium in the supply.

The water at the moment was 'excellent' and he acknowledged the works done.

However, the EPA report highlighted the resilience issue, he said, and recommended Irish Water take action to ensure it has capacity to meet seasonal demand.

Capacity had not changed at the plant, which cannot cope with demand above 2-3,000 people and he wanted to know what plans were in place for when it rose above that.

Irish Water, he was told, had informed the council that the upgrade works would improve the plant's resilience. Depending on demand, operational interventions such as water tankers and curtailing supply at night might need to be implemented as well.

Councillor McNamara noted that 'nothing is going to be done' even though the EPA had made a recommendation that the plant cannot cope with the increased demand on its supply. So when there is a problem again tankers would be brought in from all around the country.

He could not accept that the answer is tankers filling reservoirs when they knew the problem facing them.

Councillor McNamara pointed out that the tankers cost €205,000 when issues arose last summer, not counting the hours of time put in by the council and Irish Water. Multiply that by two if there's a similar issue this year and it would go a long way to solving the problem.

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