Thursday, 12 December 2013
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
135. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the years that have elapsed since the original proposal to extract water from the Shannon river at Lough Derg under the water supply project, Dublin region, as put forward by Dublin City Council, if he will re-examine all options in view of the concern being expressed from the mid-west region in terms of the impact such a proposal would have on the environment of the lake, on tourism and industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53433/13]
My Department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2010 - 2013 provides for planning of a large number of schemes and contracts, including a scheme to provide a new long-term water source to service the future needs of the Greater Dublin Area. There is limited potential to abstract additional water from existing sources in the region and it is necessary to consider new options for potential long-term sources to service growth in demand in the Greater Dublin Area. Studies conducted on behalf of Dublin City Council concluded that there were two feasible options to meet the future demand requirements of the region – abstraction from the Shannon or desalination.
Further work by consultants working on behalf of the City Council, and a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the proposal, have identified a preferred option which involves abstraction of raw water from the River Shannon at Lough Derg and pumping the abstracted water through a new pipeline to a proposed storage reservoir in County Offaly. This plan was adopted by the City Council and during 2012 was put on display for public information in a number of local authority locations, together with a Strategic Environmental Assessment.
Since then Dublin City Council has held a competition to procure Consultants to advance the project through the planning process. Following the conclusion of a tender process Consultants were awarded the contract in September 2013. The Consultants will prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment, and deal with other statutory procedures, prior to submission of these to An Bord Pleanála for determination in due course. As with all of these statutory procedures, public consultation will be an integral part of the process. All interested parties can fully participate in that public consultation process and can raise relevant issues or concerns, on which An Bord Pleanála will adjudicate.