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Article: Dublin/Wicklow water supply in jeopardy

  • 30-12-2010 5:40am
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭

    MORE THAN 150,000 homes in Dublin and Wicklow could be left without guaranteed drinking water “for years” if an unstable 19th century water tunnel collapses, Dublin City Council has said.

    The Vartry water tunnel, which runs through the Wicklow Mountains, “could suffer a partial or total collapse at any point in time,” the council said.

    However, it said it would not be in a position to build a replacement tunnel until 2013 – if government finances were available at that time.

    The 4km-long tunnel was constructed in the 1860s to bring drinking water to Dublin through a rock-lined passage bored through the Wicklow Mountains. Its daily flow of 80 million litres represents about 20 per cent of the total of the water supply to the greater Dublin area.

    Failure of the tunnel would lead to the loss of water supply to vast areas of south Dublin-north Wicklow, much of which cannot be serviced, even on a temporary basis, by any alternative Dublin supply source, the council said.

    Investigations undertaken within the past two years by external consultants on behalf of the city council uncovered a fault line in the rock which could collapse at any time.

    “The good news is that it has been there for 140 years; the bad new is that if it does collapse, it would cause huge disruption and significant supply problems for an extended time,” Tom Leahy, executive manager with the council said.

    Dublin City Council wanted to build a “bypass pipe” parallel to the existing pipe and approximately 1km long, Mr Leahy added. More exploration was needed before the cost was determined, but he said it was likely to be in the region of €10 to €20 million.

    “Unfortunately, as with any capital project, and particularly in the current difficult times, it is a question of when funding will be made available by central government. We are hopeful but 2013 is probably the earliest it could be done.”

    The construction work could be done over an 18-month period and would cause no disruption to residents, Mr Leahy said. “Nobody will even notice it’s there.”

    The Vartry system, including the tunnel and the treatment plant, is the only source of supply to north Wicklow, as well as being the primary source of supply for a considerable portion of the administrative areas of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Dublin City Council.

    A report contained in the council’s budget for 2011 states: “Studies have indicated that this rock-lined tunnel is not stable and could suffer a partial or total collapse at any point in time.”

    It adds: “Any failure of this rock-lined tunnel would deprive over 150,000 customers of guaranteed availability of drinking water for months or years.”


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,905 ✭✭✭Aard

    If this and the rest of the water-related news isn't an advertisement for water-charges, I don't know what is!

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,571 ✭✭✭uberwolf

    As with any other tax, water charges are unlikely to be ringfenced

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,905 ✭✭✭Aard

    At the very least the taxes would go to the Local Authority, so if they felt the need to do something about this, or indeed other things, they'd be able to act quicker than national government.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,252 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    How is this any different to the same warnings in January?

    I presume DCC think they can possibly scare cash out of the govt. now that they couldn't back then...