Thousands seek water charge exemption
on 23/10/2013 00:00:00
The cost of repairs, averaging €2,000 per break, is now estimated at more than €800,000.
Hoteliers have been forced to get in supplementary water supplies for functions, B&B owners have been unable to provide showers for guests, and farmers have had difficulty in getting enough water for their livestock.
Reservoirs, pumps, and pipes are not capable of meeting demands, according to locals who point out that large amounts of water are being wasted because of burst pipes.
However, the council said it doesn't have the money to replace an antiquated pipe network that has been in place for over 40 years.
Highlighting the issue at this week's council meeting, Cllr Brendan Cronin (Ind) said people depending on the scheme were undergoing "total frustration'' because of continuing water outages.
"People can't operate washing machines, others don't have enough water to make tea, while some farmers are boring wells because they can't rely on the supply to provide enough water for their animals,'' he said.
"I'm living in the middle of the area and am getting calls about the water all the time. Since the council issued the figure of 413, there have been two more breaks.''
Mr Cronin's proposal that Irish Water be asked to exempt people in the area from the metered charges, due to be imposed next year, until they had a secure, reliable supply was carried.
In one instance, a hotel had to hire a fire brigade to draw water for a function it was holding, he added.
Supporting, Cllr Michael Cahill (Ind) said people were living a nightmare and were "plagued'' by the constant breakdowns.
He said a poor water supply was a deterrent to attracting industry and investment to the area and planning permission for private houses had been refused in Killorglin because of inadequate water supplies.
Council water services director Oliver Ring said it would not be realistic to replace every pipe in the network, which would cost €30m to €40m.
He added that some pipes were being replaced and the quality of the scheme had improved.
Mr Ring said they were currently reviewing pressure in the network and management of the valve system, which he described as an extremely complicated operation.