Water and wastewater capacity shortfall to affect cities

Water supply shortages will affect urban centres in the next five years unless there is further investment, according to the national policy advisory body for enterprise and science.

A report for Forfás has called for a national approach to water and wastewater services to replace the current patchwork of service providers in order to maximise the potential for economises of scale and strategic planning.

Martin Croning, Forfás chief executive, stressed the importance of water supplies for Irish business.

He said: “Secure and competitively priced water supplies and treatment services are essential for business and particularly for a number of sectors of strategic importance to the Irish economy including the biopharma and food sectors.

“Forfás analysis has found that a number of key urban centres could experience water and waste water treatment capacity deficits by 2013.”

The report also found that about 43% of the total volume of treated drinking water was lost before reaching the consumer.

However, Forfás’ proposal for looking at charges for homeowners was rejected by opposition.

Fine Gael environment spokesman Phil Hogan told the Independent: “The failure of the Government to tackle the haemorrhage of treated drinking water, which is being lost through leaks right across the country, is all the more shocking when you consider that Euro 4.4bn has been spent on water schemes between 1996 and 2006.”

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