An announcement by Irish Water this week confirming the commencement of works to upgrade the Athlone Water Treatment Plant enabling the safeguard of water supply to homes and businesses in Athlone and surrounding areas and providing for social and economic growth has been formally welcomed by the Town Mayor, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke.
The works will be conducted by Irish Water in partnership with Westmeath County Council.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser, the Town Mayor noted that the provision of an adequate and reliable water supply infrastructure was essential for economic and social growth within Athlone.
“An adequate and reliable water infrastructure is fundamental to our social, economic and general wellbeing. Keeping water infrastructure in a state of safe and good repair, along with building in capacity for future population and economic growth, goes a long way to strengthening our local economy and safeguarding it for the future.
“Studies across the world have shown that strong investment in water infrastructure generates inward investment and jobs, plain and simple. Businesses, particularly manufacturing, medical/technical and pharmaceutical companies rely massively on the availability of fresh reliable water, a healthy supply of same and, they are willing to pay for it.
“In recent years Athlone has struggled to meet the fresh water needs of our current and existing user base. We have endured regular outages in order to manage the system and replenish our reservoirs. Households and businesses havew been adversely affected by loss of supply on regular occasions in the recent past,” Cllr O’Rourke commented.
The Town Mayor is of the view that the provision of an inefficient water infrastructure within the town is a deterrent to potential future investors in Athlone.
“Apart from the inconvenience of an outage, it also sends out all the wrong messages to potential future investors. So, even from a standing still position we need increased capacity now.
“Looking to the future, with literally thousands of new houses planned for Athlone over the next three to six years, we need a lot of additional water treatment and storage capacity. All of society stand to benefit from improvements to the reliability and efficiency of our local water systems.
“This new and welcome investment in our treatment plant in Athlone will go a long way to future-proofing the town as we plan for significant population growth and an increase in economic activity in the decades to come. I welcome this substantial investment by Irish Water across two phases, the first of which will cost €4m with all work completed by 2024,” Cllr O’Rourke remarked.
Irish Water confirmation of works
In the released statement, Irish Water stated that the essential project will be delivered in adherence with HSE and Government guidance on Covid-19.
Veolia Water Ireland will deliver this project on behalf of Irish Water. The upgrade will be carried out in two phases. Phase one, which represents an investment of over €4 million, will commence on Monday, February 8 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Phase two will commence in 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2024.
“The provision of safe, clean drinking water and safeguarding the water supply in Athlone and surrounding areas for the future is a priority for Irish Water. The upgrade of the water treatment plant will increase capacity of the treatment plant and safeguard the supply for the social and economic development of Athlone.
“While Irish Water was progressing with plans to upgrade the water treatment plant and in order to provide a more secure supply in Athlone in the short term, Irish Water accelerated our Leakage Reduction Programme last year to improve and secure water supply and reduce the need for water restrictions. These activities and the activities of Westmeath County Council have saved almost 1.5 million litres of water per day, improving our service to our customers in Athlone,” John Gavin, Regional Operations Lead with Irish Water, said, upon the upgrade confirmation announcement.
“We would like to thank our customers in advance for their patience and cooperation while we carry out these essential upgrade works. The existing water treatment plant will be upgraded in two phases, to provide more robust treatment processes at the treatment plant, resulting in an improved water supply for customers, and allow capacity to be increased significantly in order to meet the demands for Athlone into the future,” Martin Temple, Asset Delivery Lead for Irish Water, added.