Nearly half a million people get their water from “at risk” supplies, a report by the Environmental Protection Agency has found.
The figure of 481,000 is a notable increase on the 374,000 affected in 2021.
Despite this, the EPA Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies Report 2022 found that 99.7% of water in Ireland is compliant with bacterial and chemical regulations.
“Our public water quality remains very high, which means that the public can be confident that the drinking water supplied to their homes is safe to drink,” EPA Programme Manager Noel Byrne.
“However, the EPA through our inspection and monitoring programme, continues to identify drinking water plants that are at risk and require improvements and upgrades.
“At the end of 2022, there were 481,000 people being served by at risk supplies on EPA’s RAL.
“Uisce Éireann needs to prioritise investment in those plants to improve the resilience of drinking supplies, to provide a safe and secure supply into the future.”
Speeding up the removal of lead from the supply network is one recommendation the EPA makes to improve public health.
“Uisce Éireann have to take action in relation to connections between the public supply and the private household,” Mr Byrne said.
“There’s 180,000 of those [lead] connections.
“Uisce Éireann have today replaced 50,000 of them and replaced 10,000 of those in 2022 - which wasn’t bad.
“But at that rate it’s still going to take them another 10 years to replace all those connections.”
The report also found almost 191,000 people had been affected by boil notices last year - a third of which remained in place for over a month.
Main image: Kitchen taps.