Talks start on Euro 540 million eco-water park

The plans for a Euro 540 million eco-water park and reservoir in County Offaly, Ireland will be considered today (July 19) by the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The proposed site is a 500 acre bog, which is owned by Bord na Móna. The chief executive of the utility company will join the meeting of the Oireachtas Environment, Transport, Culture and Gaeltacht committee to discuss the plans.

Under the proposals, put forward by Dublin City Council, the reservoir would supply 350 million litres of water a day to the Dublin region and serve the capital's drinking water needs for 70 years.

The project would also create a water based eco-park with fishing, boating, cycling water and leisure sports in the midlands.

Bord na Móna are in favour of the plans and would build the reservoir at Garryhinch in cutaway bog near Portarlington, Co. Laois.

Under the plan, water would be taken from the River Shannon peak flow and then be treated at the reservoir before being transported by pipe to the capital and the surrounding regions.

The company estimates that the project could create up to 1,000 jobs during the construction phase.

The Oireachtas Environment, Transport, Culture and Gaeltacht committee chairman, Ciaran Lynch, TD said: "The plans outlined for a reservoir and eco-park in the midlands will mean a massive outlay by the exchequer.

"Therefore, the Committee is anxious to get a proper idea on whether this project represents good value for money for the taxpayer and if it is viable from a practical perspective.

"We are also keen to assess the project from an environmental perspective to see whether it is sustainable."

The Committee will visit the proposed locations in Laois and Offaly tomorrow (July 20). Alison Brown


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