Minister for the environment, heritage and local government, John Gormley, said today (January 25) investment in replacing water mains will increase ‘five-fold’ with the 300m Euro investment over the next three years.

Last year Mr Gormley ordered a review of the water investment programme to tackle issues of ‘unaccounted for water’ and ‘value for money’.

“We are playing a huge game of catch-up with our water infrastructure, following decades of under-investment,” said Mr Gormley.

“Exchequer investment in water infrastructure has increased to an average of 500m Euros since 2007, and the 4.6billion Euros the state has spent in the last decade is paying dividends.

“However, the difficulties experienced by thousands of householders across the country show clearly that there are still huge issues with our water infrastructure and consumption of water that need to be addressed.”

Mr Gormley also said Ireland’s approach to drinking water has been ‘unsustainable’ and ‘must change’.

While investment has been a ‘real problem’ with water losses ranging from 16.8% to 58.6% depending on what part of Ireland.

Specific details of the new programme will be outlined by the minister next month.

Mr Gormley is due to announce proposals in the coming weeks on the installation of water meters to 1.1m homes connected to the public water mains supply across the country.

Luke Walsh

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