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Water Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 20 September 2011

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ceisteanna (316)

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

349 Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans in respect of the servicing and preparation he has been carrying out to prevent water disruptions during freezing weather conditions as experienced in December 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24904/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

My Department considers water conservation to be of paramount importance. The current Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012, a copy of which is in the Oireachtas library, places a significant emphasis on water conservation, providing for network rehabilitation contracts with a total value of some €321 million to commence in the period 2010-2012.

In the aftermath of the severe weather in December 2010 and January 2011, my Department carried out a review of the local authority response. The purpose of the review was to identify lessons learnt — what worked successfully and what needed improvement, so that organisations/agencies could consolidate and further enhance preparedness and the response process in the future. Specifically, in relation to water services, local authorities have identified the contingency arrangements needed when a severe weather incident is predicted. These include demand management measures to seek to reduce demand and replenish reservoirs during the period of freezing weather, mainly through pressure reductions and night-time restrictions and ensuring that staff are available throughout the thawing phase to manage production, find and fix leaks, provide alternative supplies through tankers and standpipes and provide information through websites and other media outlets. In addition, my Department's National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management is currently drawing up a severe weather preparedness guidance document, which includes guidance on water issues.

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