ONGOING water outages on the supply for the Miltown Malbay area have been described as “hell” for families, farms and businesses by a member of the West Clare Municipal District.
Councillor Shane Talty told the monthly district meeting that people were “crying and tearing their hair out” and that there had been more than 30 outages lasting for three days or more. The Fianna Fáil member’s comments were made as he tabled a motion calling on the council to make sure that water was tankered promptly to group schemes during future outages. “I’m calling for a protocol where, in the event of disruption, tankers would be made available within 36 hours,” he said, “and this should be the case until Irish Water completes the long-term upgrade works. Bursts and breaks will continue . We must have some kind of interim solution. I would hope we would be able to bill Irish Water, if necessary.”
Backing the motion, Councillor Joe Killeen said he welcomed news of an upgrade to the Rockmount reservoir and the long-term works committed to by Irish Water. “Until completion, people need continuity of supply,” he said.” That’s particularly important during the time of Covid-19.”
Councillor Roisín Garvey said there was better water infrastructure in the developing world. “There’s an animal welfare issue here too,” she noted.
Councillor Cillian Murphy described the motion as “practical and innovative”. “What’s being proposed is not ideal,” he said, “but will alleviate at lot of the problems people face.”
Acting Senior Executive Engineer John O’Malley said, “Thankfully, the group scheme element is being addressed by Irish Water. That will end the scenario of seven-day outages and would bring outages down to around two days.” Mr O’Malley added that the Roads Section would organise the tankers and communicate with water scheme administrators. “Roads and Water will liaise on this,” he said. “It’s not a full solution, but will go some way towards fixing the issue.”
Irish Water said this week that it is to upgrade group schemes in the next two months. In the meantime, it is working with operators to clear airlocks and restore water more quickly when bursts occur.