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Irish Water Reveals the Story Behind the Challenges Facing Public Water Infrastructure

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Irish Water Reveals the Story Behind the Challenges Facing Public Water Infrastructure

Irish Water Reveals the Story Behind the Challenges Facing Public Water Infrastructure
December 05
10:37 2019

Research commissioned by Irish Water and conducted by B&A indicates that 44% of the Irish public admit they ‘know nothing or not very much’ about the work carried out by Irish Water and almost 80% of those surveyed say that they are interested in hearing about water services and ongoing and future plans. In response to this, Irish Water will reveal the full story behind the challenges facing the public water and wastewater network in a new documentary, The Story of Water.

The documentary forms part of what will be an on-going public information programme to help people understand the role that water plays in our daily lives, its value and complex lifecycle, and the process of getting water and wastewater through the public network. It will include insights on the increasing impact of climate change; why in a country like Ireland water conservation is becoming increasingly critical; how rain becomes drinking water and the damage that is caused when people flush inappropriate items; and the work Irish Water is doing to protect the environment, fix the network and support economic development.

The Story of Water is a key output of Irish Water’s ongoing programme of public education and awareness, which includes Water Conservation Awareness campaigns, Leakage Awareness campaigns, a partnership with Clean Coasts on Think Before You Flush and sponsorship of the Water Theme of the An Taisce Green-Schools programme.

Niall Gleeson, Managing Director, Irish Water, says: “The public are telling us that they want to understand more about their water and where it comes from and they have told us that they want us to do a better job of communicating with them. Consumers hear from us when we are managing outages and incidents affecting their water supply and when we have issues with sewage blockages or overflows, but we have never shared the wider story about public water and wastewater services in Ireland, the size and scale of the challenge and the technical expertise required across the industry, including our local authority partners, to deliver clean, safe drinking water for a modern growing economy.”

“We know from research that 44% of the Irish public admit they ‘know nothing or not very much’ about the work carried out by Irish Water. It is our responsibility to close the gap in understanding. Public engagement is an essential part of Irish Water’s work. We are on the ground with almost 500 projects, digging up roads and building, repairing and replacing major infrastructure, all of which has a significant impact on local communities. There is massive investment going into water and wastewater infrastructure. It will take time to resolve the challenges and we are making progress.”

The Story of Water will also share the environmental impact of untreated sewage flowing directly into our rivers, lakes, seas and the consequences for plants, fish, wildlife and for amenity uses, and what is being done to address the issue. It will also explain why levels of leakage on the water network are so high and what it will take to fix the problem.

Individual personal stories from all over Ireland are a central part of The Story of Water; how aging infrastructure has resulted in 12,500 people supplied by Lough Talt being on a Boil Water Notice since February 2018; the damage caused to birdlife in Galway caused by flushing baby wipes and plastics; and the impact of raw sewage on human health and on our beautiful coastline in Liscannor.

Cathal Marley, Interim CEO Ervia, says: “Ireland is forecasting strong population and economic growth and we must have good water infrastructure to support that growth. While supplying a clean, safe, sustainable supply of drinking water for everyone we also must ensure that we protect our environment. During the sustained 2018 drought, we all saw the direct impact of climate change on our water network and the difficulty of maintaining supply. I am pleased that The Story of Water will give the public an opportunity to have a greater understanding of how climate change affects their daily lives in our delivery of critical services to their homes and businesses.”

The Story of Water documentary airs at 7 pm on Virgin Media Two, on Sunday 8 December and features international and local contributors including experts from the water industry, engineers, environmental scientists, ecologists, regular water users, sports people, local authority staff and Irish Water employees and Irish Water’s regulators.

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