THE water supply in west Clare has gone “beyond breaking point”, a meeting of local councillors heard.
Councillor Gabriel Keating put forward a motion at the recent meeting of west and North councillors asking that Irish Water, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the County Council resolve the
“long standing frequent bursts and outages due to the poor condition of the asbestos watermain situated in the raised bog rampart on the N67 south of Doonbeg Village.”
He said that the N67 south of Doonbeg is deteriorating and is a health and safety hazard, as well as “a regular inconvenience to the residents of the area due to the frequency of
bursts over a number of years”.
Councillor Keating said that dealing with the issue every time there is a leak is costly, even if an overall project requires a good deal of funding.
“I’d love to know how much each leak costs,” he mused.
He said that people are left without water for long periods of time, and the matter needs to be resolved now.
“I think for once and for all it should be gone. There’s no point in letting it drag on for another year.”
Councillor Keating added, “We’re talking about climate changes and water shortages and all the rest. This is an opportunity to get this job of work done.
“It could enhance the whole place, for the residents and the farmers to be sure of water when they want it.”
Irish Water is frequently the target of criticism from county councillors and independent Ian Lynch said that the only way to get the body to do anything was in the run-up to an election “to start roaring and shouting and have it make the front page of the Champion”.
He described them as “an absolute farce to deal with” and said the situation is having a huge impact on residents.
“This water main has been the bane of people’s lives in West Clare. It’s not just the few hours it’s gone off, it’s taking 48 hours at a time to fill. They have no water for 48 hours.”
Councillor Shane Talty claimed that “the water supply in west Clare and North Clare is beyond breaking point”.
He said that the reservoir in Ennistymon had to be topped up with tankers throughout the summer, so low was it running.
Members of the Council executive told the meeting that TII would be the overarching body for repairs at the N67.
While some repairs have been made of late, it was claimed that TII is not ready to provide the level of funding required for a more comprehensive solution.
Also at the meeting Councillor Shane Talty asked for an update on plans to upgrade/replace the Lahinch Wastewater Treatment plant.
A reply from Ann Cronin, Senior Executive Engineer with the Council’s Water Services Department said, “A Feasibility Study has been completed looking at the requirements and potential solutions to upgrade both the Lahinch Wastewater Treatment plant and Ennistymon Wastewater Treatment plant. A single Wastewater Treatment plant at a new site between Ennistymon and Lahinch was determined to be recommended solution.
“The report is currently going through final approval and work on the detailed design, including land acquisition, marine modelling and a planning application will commence in early 2023.
“As part of this phase a detailed site selection study will be undertaken to determine the most suitable site and pipeline routes.”
Several of the councillors said it is essential that the project be progressed, in the interests of tourism and the provision of housing in the area.
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.