Under the proposed Euro 600 million scheme, the capital’s water supply woes would be eased through abstracting water from the Shannon and its lakes.

While private operator RPS Consulting Engineers has signalled that it is ready to get started on the ambitious project, the Shannon Protection Alliance has confirmed that it is looking into taking its case to the European Commission.

With the group – which claims more than 100,000 supporters – arguing that the scheme could have a hugely negative impact on wildlife, drinking water quality and recreation on the river’s lakes, it has revealed that it is investigating whether the proposals infringe any existing water directives, while the legal rights to the water may also be a matter of contention.

According to the Irish Times, RPS are considering a compromise whereby water is only pumped out of the river in winter, when high levels are often a problem for those living close to its banks.

Dublin officials have previously reported that the city needs an extra 300 million litres of water a day to keep up with rising demand.

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