Professor warns Shannon water pipeline plan “like throwing money out the window”

some 49% of Ireland's treated water is lost through leaking network pipes

A DCU Professor of Economics has warned that Irish Water’s €1.3bn plan to pump water from the River Shannon to the Greater Dublin Area is “like throwing money out the window.”

Professor Edgar Morgenroth said the wasting of water through leaking pipes is a major concern – and called on Irish Water to focus its efforts on fixing leaks in Dublin.

According to Irish Water figures, 49% of the countries treated water is lost through leaking network pipes.

The figure – which does not include leaks on the household side – makes Ireland’s leakage the worst in Western Europe and among the worst in the OECD.

On Newstalk Breakfast Prof Morgenroth said the leakage figures are “extraordinary” adding that they “must be one of the highest rates in the developed world.”

Prof Morgenroth was reacting to recent CSO figures highlighting that 1% of domestic metered households account for 25% of metered water consumption.

“The householder leaks – because you identify them exactly – can be dealt with very quickly and straightforwardly,” he said.

“The wider leakage that we see in the network is a more long-running issue and it is because we have not invested in our network.

“Some of the pipes in Dublin are 100 years old.”

He said the level of water going through some households is “so large that you would almost have to fill a swimming pool every day.”

“That is clearly a leak – or it is something else, like a commercial activity that is not declared,” he said.

Irish Water plans to spend €1.3bn on a pipeline that would pump water from the Parteen Basin in North Tipperary to the Midlands and Greater Dublin Area.