Water shortages experienced after mains accident

A large swathe of eastern Athlone experienced an unplanned breakdown in its water supply yesterday (January 16 ) after an accidental breach in a mains pipe close to Garrycastle bridge, but most had supply returned by 7pm.

As part of the ongoing work to upgrade 26 kms of elderly pipeline around the town, the council had informed residents between the Bower, Willow Park, and Garrycastle by letter that “due to essential maintenance works” in these areas “customers may experience a water disruption betwen the hours of 6am to 6pm”.

Areas affected included Retreat Road, Retreat Park, Auburn Heights, The Elms, Hillcourt, Ardnaglug, Ashgrove, Altown, Cyprus Gardens, Willow Park, Clonbonny, Fardrum, Kilmacoo, The Derries, Killion Hill, Retreat Mews, Retreat Heights, Clonbrock Court, and surrounding areas.

However, due to the additional unanticipated mains breach, this disruption of supply affected a large number of industrial units and additional housing in the area without any warning.

However, after some speedy remedial work on the broken main, a spokesman for the council told the Advertiser yesterday at 2.30pm that “we hope to have the water back on the Dublin Road between 3 and 3.30pm”.

“As for the work between Retreat and Garrycastle, worst case scenario would see it back between 6-6.30pm,” he added.

On Monday January 20, the work moves into the Arcadia and One Mile areas. Residents have already been notified by letter.

With a leakage figure approaching 40 per cent of all treated water from a creaking system, part of which is still Victorian, the council began six years ago to attract the required funding to address this.

In 2012 the county council was granted a total of €23m to address this, €6.5m of which is earmarked for the town of Athlone.

Up until the handover to the new Irish Water authority in 2015, the council will provide up to 34,000 tonnes of drinking water each day from four sources.

Most recent figures available show that it cost Westmeath County Council €10.8m to operate and maintain all water services - including waste water - in the county for 2012.

The total cost of the Water Services Improvement Programme (WSIP ) 2010-2012 for Westmeath was €95m.

This included a total of almost 13km of new sewerage pipelines in the Glasson/Ballykeeran area in 2011, as well as the replacement of 5.6km of an asbestos concrete main in Coosan in the same year.

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