Environment minister John Gormley demanded more infomation be published about water quality.

He said: “Improved consumer access to information on the quality of drinking water will be a key driver in bringing about a sustained improvement in the quality of water services.

“Ready access by consumers to up-to-date data on water quality is not alone important in terms of protecting public health but also it empowers consumers to actively engage with the water supplier to seek information or reassurance in relation to their drinking water supply.”

All councils must start publishing the results of their drinking water sampling programmes on their websites via a “prominent” homepage link, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government says.

Monitoring results of any drinking water showing a “potential danger to human health” must also be published “promptly” on websites along with any advice from the Health Service Executive and Environmental Protection Agency, it says.

“The focus of the government’s capital investment in water services has mainly been to put the necessary infrastructure in place to prevent contamination of drinking water in the first instance but it is also essential to have systems in place to deal with any incident of contamination that might arise,” said Mr Gormley, making the announcement last Monday (July 20).

“For example, earlier this year local authorities were instructed to develop a Drinking Water Incident Response Plan which should be activated in the event of a drinking water incident.”

The move to publish drinking water data is part of a package of measures agreed with European Union commissioner Stavros Dimas last year “to enhance the protection of drinking water supplies in Ireland”, he explained.

David Gibbs

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