Irish Water warns major outage in North East may not be the last

The utility says it does not have the resources to prevent further outages

Irish Water warns major outage in North East may not be the last

Residents using the water station service in Termon Abbey, Drogheda, 25-07-2017. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Irish Water is warning this summer's major supply failure in the North East won't be the last.

Around 100,000 homes and businesses ran dry for almost a week when a pipe burst at a treatment plant in County Meath.

A report into the response has found that action wasn't taken fast enough to fix the problem.

But Irish Water's Managing Director Jerry Grant is warning that the utility does not have the resources to tackle problems, warning that similar outages could happen elsewhere:

“There is no question about that, I mean a few weeks later we had a very serious pump failure in Listowel,” he said.

“We were very lucky that an engineering company worked right through the weekend – through Saturday, Sunday and Sunday night – to get it back up working on Monday morning.

“That curtailed the loss of water there to about 24 hours.

“It could easily have run to 48 or 72 hours – that is the reality we can’t ignore.”

He admitted that the utility does not possess clear information about the state of the water pipe system – adding that there are not enough spare parts for use in case of emergency.

“We simply don’t know the details of all our assets in the ground, we don’t know their condition and we don’t have automatically spare parts available in inventory around the place,” he said.

“We have 300 bursts every month in our network. All of those bursts affect communities and affect businesses.”

The Irish Water report also found that the utility should have warned people earlier about the severity of the outage.

The report stresses however, that this would have done nothing to speed up repair works.