Up to 60% Roscommon water wasted

Pauline Scott 60 percent of the water produced in Roscommon is being lost because of widespread leaks, poor infrastructure and illegal connections to the networks, according to figures released this week. Roscommon and Kilkenny have the worst rating in the country when it comes to water lost to leaks, with up to 60 percent of water produced being lost. The figures compare to 53 percent of water in Offaly being lost, 42 percent in Co. Cork and 25 percent in Kildare. Up to 55 million litres of water are produced daily in Roscommon, but 60 percent of this remains unaccounted for.  Responding, Desmond O’Dwyer of Roscommon County Council stated, ‘Water lost through leakage and illegal connections is taken very seriously by Roscommon County Council. Roscommon has a dedicated Water Conservation scheme which is spending €4 million from the Department of Environment over the next three years in identifying and repairing critical water mains that have leaks.    ‘In the last year, 600 leaks have been identified and repaired, representing a saving of 1.32 million gallons of water per day. Analysis of the each of the 19 water schemes using bulk water meters and computer analysis to identify water losses has been carried out. This has helped to identify the lines on the network which have the highest rates of water loss. These have been followed up by a dedicated Leak Inspection Team which to date has completed a review of 10 of the 19 schemes.    ‘Work on the remainder will be finished by October. It should be noted that water leakage above 25 percent is not charged to non-domestic customers. This rate is the rate at which it is uneconomic to search and repair further leaks.’ Bernard Donohue, Chairman of IFA Roscommon also responded to the figures. He said, ‘We had an SPC meeting on Monday and the whole issue of water metering came up. IFA had looked for a meeting with the Council. At a previous SPC meeting it was proposed that the IFA and the council should meet to try and resolve the impasse. ‘That meeting hasn’t taken place but at the SPC meeting, the Council confirmed that it is willing to meet IFA to see if we could resolve the impasse. I am delighted that we are meeting the council to see if some progress can be made. ‘Leakage is a huge cost in the overall cost structure. It is disappointing that up to 60 percent of the water being produced is being lost, that is a huge cost for the consumer. We would have said that the Department of Environment will have to put funding in place to correct that problem and then we will have a better idea of what the real price of water will be. ‘We do accept that funding has been increased substantially, but it’s unfair to expect farmers of business people to pay exorbitant prices of water when over half of it is being lost through infrastructural deficiencies in the system, that would be our view.’ Mr. Donohue was confident that if agreement could be secured between the Council and the farmers, that both parties could work together. ‘We have always said that we would pay an equitable price for water,’ concluded Mr. Donohue.