This week the Water Forum made a submission to Irish Water’s public consultation on the Southwest Regional Water Resources Plan.
One of the Forum’s key concerns for water supply in this region is demand management and the need for water conservation measures to become a key part of water supply strategy. The population of this region is expected to increase by 33% by 2040. This will significantly increase demand for water, it will result in the need for further infrastructure for water supply and wastewater treatment with impacts on the environmental condition of the waterbodies where the supplies are sourced. The impact of climate change is also significant with 60% of supplies in this region suffering restrictions this month as result of low summer rainfall.
To address this the Water Forum recommends a proactive approach that includes demand management in the form of water conservation measures beginning with a communications and education strategy to increase awareness of water scarcity and drought in Ireland.
- Enhance water education to support a bottom-up understanding of water (from the processes that underpin treatment and supply, to the energy and resources required to produce drinking water).
Future proofing supply is also of great importance to the Water Forum and to address this the Forum recommends that Irish Water develop:
- Drought Management plans for each Water Resource Zone (WRZ) should be included in the regional plan and made publicly available
- Each WRZ should have a Flood Management plans and all personnel trained in response procedures
- The potential impacts of Sea Level Rise should be considered when planning capital programmes
- There needs to be clarity and transparency in development planning (Planning for Economic and Population Growth) so that all responsible agencies maximise efficiencies in water supply and demand and potential negative environmental outcomes.
The submission is available at: Submission to Irish Water on the Southwest Water Resources Regional Plan
Water Forum Infographic: Water is worth saving