The Water Advisory Body (WAB) published its third quarter report of 2021 today. The WAB reports on how Irish Water is performing against its own Strategic Funding Plan.
A particular concern noted in this report was the failings highlighted by the Water Treatment Plant failures in Gorey and Ballymore Eustace including the risk to public health and failures in communication and escalation and Irish Water’s lack of oversight of drinking water plants.
The key findings in Quarter 2 are still pertinent in Quarter 3 2021, the WAB welcomes the continued decrease in the number of people on Boil Water Notices issued by Irish Water but are concerned about the length of time customers are on boil water notices.
More plants have been added to Remedial Action List (RAL) (drinking water supplies that need corrective action) but the number of customers served by plants on the RAL has decreased.
Some of the key findings in the report include:
First Fix Free Scheme – There has been a sustained drop off in the number of leak repairs carried out by customers, with the highest number of leak repairs carried out by customers to date being completed in Quarter 3 of 2016, whilst the lowest number was completed in Quarter 2 2020.However, the WAB welcome the introduction of the Household Water Conservation Policy, anticipating this will encourage customers to avail of the First Fix Free Scheme
Remedial Action List (Water) – There is cause for alarm with the number of water supplies on the Remedial Action List (53), an increase of five since the last report. However, there was a welcome decrease in the population served by supplies on the Remedial Action List due to the removal of Leixlip from the list.
Lead service connections replaced – The WAB welcomes Irish Water’s forecast that it will exceed its 2021 target for replacement of lead connections. However, the WAB notes it is highly unlikely Irish Water’s target to replace all lead services by 2026 will be met
Boil Water Notices – The WAB is alarmed at the length of the boil water notices, with the last
seven quarters reporting ‘long-term notices’ (in place for more than 30 days). The WAB would like
to see boil water notices in place for as short a period as possible
The WAB has commissioned local surveys to determine views of Irish Water customers in relation to communications from and contact with Irish Water. These local surveys will seek to
establish the views of customers on communication and contact by Irish Water in terms of clarity, timeliness, efficiency, professionalism, ease of next steps, contact and overall experience. The WAB hopes to publish and comment on the findings of these surveys in Q1 2022.