On March 9th 2015, Irish Water published their “Need Report” (IWNR)
This was the third such proposal in a decade (Dublin City Council DCC being the earlier) proposing water abstraction from the Shannon to satisfy Dublin (GDA) and midland needs into 2050.
The SFAG of the ISS chaired by Patsy Peril, lifetime fisherman and guardian of the Shannon make this submission.
The ISS is opposed to the Shannon Abstraction Proposal by IW targeting Parteen and Lough Derg for 300 million litres per day (MLD) by twin pipes over 100 miles to GDA. IW predictions are sketchy, unreliable both for abstraction and demand and most worryingly without ceiling. They fail to address flow by season and maximum abstraction at times of lowest flow. They do not address adequately the power generation priority of the ESB and 1935 Fisheries Management role of the authority for rare and endangered anadramous and catadramous species.
Abstraction represents a regressive step over a widely protected area under Habitats, Water Framework and Marine Strategy Frameworks Directives and compliance with these directives, 1976 and 2002 Wildlife (+Amendment) Acts. The groundwork for EIA and SEA has not been done and this is a callous exercise in information harvesting, incurring expense and worry for multiple stakeholders by kite flying exercise. 1m people depend on these riparian communities and the consequences for their businesses, homes and tourism is not adressed. The proposal is clearly unsustainable on economic, ecological and social grounds and threatens fragile economies and ecosystems surviving on knife edge by careful stewardship of the Shannon. Limerick and Clare local authorities have already signalled their opposition to this abstraction and the other local authorities over the Shannons course from pot to sea and stakeholders of the Shannon River Basin Management Authority (RBM) represent huge opposition to this proposal.
It is irresponsible of IW to incur further cost on this proposal to turn the Shannon East, introduce Bog Water to Dubliners and charge Irish citizens for the folly in increased charges, when it is a contrived and unrealistic need and alternatives have not even been explored. There is no pumping strategy, no water level monitoring and control data of substance, nor information on impacts for ecology,water quality, navigation, angling and recreation, farming etc and bear in mind all these activities are already under stress at certain times of year and IW already contributes problems to by discharge of untreated and partially treated sewage . Have IW considered the possibilities of algal bloom, pollution or other crisis and implication of such dependency?
IWNR ignores alternatives bar fleeting reference to desalination as kite to distract and reject on cost issues…..but not so fast, more info is required for comment. GDA has a number of other options in locality and mega projects run contrary to international trends grounding supply and security of supply as close to demand as possible Ground water is largely unexplored on East Coast and aquifers such as Curragh and Nevit have untapped potential. Also there is high correlation between supply and waste and adressing the conservatively estimated 35% leaks would do much for security of supply. Good conservation measures and practises can do more for efficiency. The midland corridor along proposed pipeline is more than self sufficient requiring only improved infra structure, less waste and polluting discharges. Discharges remain “elephant in room” that IW do not appear to address at all. Huge anomalies remain in case for sourcing supply outside GDA. and IW polluting activities and offences require immediate correction, whether it be the ancient Rush raw sewage disharge or the proposed Dublin drainage outfall (secondarytreatment) off Ireland’s Eye……Why are these discharges, as many more, going into Irish Sea or rivers without further treatment and recycling?? As de salination IW has great need to update on technology and international trends and give the nation a safe and secure supply of water , with minimum impact on what remains of our environment. Anything less is bad regional planning and disservice to Shannon and Dublin.
The Shannon abstraction proposal is needless,reckless and outdated and IW needs to live up to it’s promise by conservation, re-use and local supply.
Hydrology knowledge and drilling information clearly indicate such course to be more economic and sustainable…..and to be a trendsetter adress the pollution points, seperate rain water, introduce tertiary treatment and recycle selectively to different end users.
Patsy Peril Chair SFAG/ISS Shannon conservator
Johnny Woodlock Env Scientist
Brendan Price M.Inst. Biol. Irl