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Irish Water responds to claims by Kilkenny Councillor

It's after comments from Eugene McGuinness

Irish Water has responded to a Kilkenny County Councillor who claimed the utility was running a “cowboy operation” locally.

Eugene McGuiness’s comments came following the recent meeting of Kilkenny City Municipal District which heard that several areas where waterworks were undertaken were left in a state of disrepair afterwards. (Read the story here).

In a statement to KCLR News this afternoon, Irish Water said it and its contractors follow clear guidelines, strict regulations, and codes of practice for all of its works.

It also says that its personnel liaised with residents of the areas where works are taking place as well as stakeholders, including with local councillors through a variety of ways.

Statement in full:

Irish Water, working in partnership with Kilkenny County Council has been working to reduce leakage, replace old and damaged mains as well as lead back yard services in Kilkenny city for the past 5 years. This work has been carried out as part of the National Leakage Reduction Programme that has seen an investment of €500m nationally by Irish Water which will improve water quality, ensure a more reliable service, while also safeguarding the water supply for the residents of the city.

Irish Water and the third-party contractors working on these projects on its behalf follow clear guidelines and strict building regulations and codes of practice when installing mains or replacing backyard services. This is also the case for all road reinstatements. These guidelines and codes of practice have been followed diligently during the works in Teresa’s Terrace, Fatima Place, Patrick’s Street, Dean Street and other areas. To give an indication of the size and scale of the works carried out, 1270m of new High Density Polyethylene Plastic piping has been installed across 148 properties in Fatima Place and St Teresa’s Terrace.

From the beginning, Irish Water worked with the residents of these areas organising information evenings, media campaigns, signage and letter drops over an extended period of time to ensure each home and business owner understood the scale of works and what options were available to those availing of a new back yard service which is heavily dependent on ground conditions in many areas. Irish Water and its Regional Contractors worked closely with the Local Authorities Roads Department to ensure the works met every stipulation and criteria of the Reinstatement Conditions set out by Kilkenny County Council. An example of this would be in areas such as Dean Street where Irish Water’s Regional Contractors have made a significant contribution to Full Lane Reinstatement to be completed by the Local Authority nominated Reinstatement Contractors. In addition, and as is common practice, any issues with reinstatement that has not met Kilkenny County Council requirements have been corrected by Irish Water’s Regional Contractors.

Irish Water has worked with local stakeholders including elected representatives, previously outlining the above details in person (prior to restrictions), at Councillor Clinics and via email or phone conversations. Documentation has been furnished to Councillors with detailed explanations of the criteria the works are being carried out to and why certain engineering techniques are being used in certain areas.

Offers of meetings are routinely made to councillors via councillor clinics to discuss these issues as well as our dedicated helpdesk for elected representatives. Irish Water working collaboratively again with Kilkenny County Council has also successfully carried out significant works to other aspects of the water supply network that has yielded exceptional water savings in the city and has reduced the burst occurrences. Recent works on an outdated pressure regulation value at the Troyswood Water Treatment Plant led to the daily saving of 900,000 litres of water, enough water to supply 2,500 homes. Irish Water will continue to work with our Local Authority partners to deliver a safe and reliable supply to the homes and businesses of Kilkenny city, safeguarding our water for our future.