Tuam losing water and Galway could face shortages in five years — Forfás

Three quarters of the treated water in Tuam’s public supplies is being lost before it reaches the taps, according to a report published by Forfás this week.

According to Forfás’ Assessment of Water and Waste Water Services for Enterprise, 76 per cent of the town’s water cannot be accounted for. According to the national development policy body unaccounted-for water is a serious problem in water infrastructure throughout the country, with 43 per cent of water nationally being lost before it reaches the consumer. Forfás has identified leakage and unknown or illegal connections as the main reason for this statistic nationally.

According to a Galway County Council spokeperson plans are progressing for the installation of new water infrastructure — estimated to cost in excess of €20 million — which includes replacement of much of the town’s water pipe infrastructure. Tenders for the work are currently before the Department of the Environment, Heritage, and Local Government for consideration.

The spokesperson said the local authority has already carried out works on Tuam’s water infrastructure over the past number of months which has resulted in a reduction in the water being lost in the town. He said the levels of unaccounted for water had improved as a result of this.

Despite the apparent massive loss of water Tuam is capable of producing substantially more treated water than it needs, according to the report.

In Galway, 47.3 per cent of treated water is unaccounted for and Forfás has identified the city as one of the areas which is likely to suffer from water shortages within the next five years without investment in the city’s water infrastructure. The group has called on the Government to prioritise investment in Galway and other cities and towns where it expects to see water shortages in the next few years.


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