Irish Water working in partnership with Local Authorities, suppliers and contractors have played a critical role in keeping water services running for homes and businesses through COVID-19 and in delivering works that support job creation, further development and growth now and into the future.
Recognising the unique importance of water services in ensuring growth and development the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien announced two stimulus packages in 2020 totalling €87 million. This allowed Irish Water to undertake a wide range of shovel ready projects through 2020 and also to bring forward the commencement date for a number of large infrastructure projects, leakage reduction works and network upgrades. The works were carried out across the country generating 400 jobs in the construction sector and included the delivery of 67km of new water mains, the replacement of 1,131 lead services, 55 pressure management valves and allowed crews work non-stop to find and fix leaks. Irish Water estimate that 2.2 million litres of water have been saved a day through find and fix alone from these stimulus packages, enough to provide for 6,500 new homes or a population of 17,000 people.
In County Clare an additional 2km of problematic water mains were replaced under the Stimulus Package works between Kilmurry and Castlecrine. These works will collectively improve water quality and security of supply, and reduce high levels of leakage on the network.
Speaking about what was achieved Minister O’Brien said: “The Government’s stimulus package supported jobs and the economy by accelerating Irish Water’s shovel ready works. These projects protected jobs and helped improve our water and wastewater infrastructure by reducing leaks, upgrading sewers and improving the performance of water and wastewater plants. Each project is improving our infrastructure and is helping to support our current and future housing and development needs, while improving compliance and environmental performance across the country.”
In delivering these essential works Irish Water would also like to thank the supply chain and contractors who showed great flexibility on short notice to work safely and efficiently with Irish Water. The contractors delivering these works on Irish Water sites were regional and local contractors, supported by Irish Water and Local Authority partners ensuring widespread employment across the country.
Gerry O’Donnell, Leakage Reduction Programme Regional Lead with Irish Water, commented: “Safety was a number one priority for Irish Water and our delivery partners. Strict operating procedures were implemented across all sites to provide for safe delivery during COVID-19 such as social distancing, staggered working arrangements, increased hygiene requirements and the use of additional PPE as appropriate. These enhanced safety measures were subject to regular auditing and review by Irish Water’s Health and Safety teams and were also subject to independent checks by external bodies including the Health and Safety Authority.”