Louth County Council - Your County, Your Water
While the summer heat wave proved to be a challenge for many local authorities, Louth County Council engineers, in conjunction with Irish Water and with the co-operation of the people of Louth, successfully managed reservoir levels to ensure a continued supply across the county.
Through a combination of on-site maintenance and a complex system of remote live sensors and alarms feeding back to County Hall in Dundalk, Louth County Council engineers and technicians constantly monitor water consumption, reservoir levels, leaks and the overall mechanical performance of the County water network.
Louth’s 50,000 homes use an average of 39,000,000 litres of water per day. To allow for future population and economic growth the County’s twelve plants have the capacity to draw 72,00,000 litres of water daily for treatment to EPA consumption standards.
Commenting, Alan Sherry from Louth County Council said: ‘Despite the county having no major lakes, one of the driest summers in 70 years, and with river levels running low, Council engineers maintained reservoir levels to meet demand during the heatwave. This was aided by public efforts to conserve water and ensured that there was no disruption to supply as a direct result of the summer drought. We would like to thank everyone for their efforts to conserve water during this time and encourage the continued conservation of water as we head in to the winter months’.
Mechanical issues separate to weather conditions can and will happen. Louth County Council have almost 1,200 km of water mains, 12 water treatment plants, and a myriad of pumps, valves, and sensors to keep operational. Working alongside Irish Water, Council teams perform constant maintenance and and are on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to react to incidents and leaks on a network that includes two of the largest towns in the country. Ageing infrastructure in urban areas adds to the complexity of maintaining uninterrupted supply. Coupled with a limited Council budget, limited resources and manpower, legal and planning issues, traffic disruption, and inconveniencing the public to consider, managing the water network is no small feat.
Identifying, pinpointing and repairing mechanical issues and leaks can be a painstaking process especially given the size, complexity, age profile and variety of equipment required to run the County’s water network. A limited Louth County Council crew working with Irish Water and subcontractors responded to almost 4,000 callouts and 700 mains repairs in 2017.
Who pays for it? Like all Council services, you do. Businesses pay directly for water and taxpayers fund the exchequer, which in turn funds Irish Water. Under a 12 year service agreement, Irish water funds Louth County Council to provide drinking and waste water services in Louth. Water sources not on the mains network consist of group water schemes managed by dedicated community volunteers and private wells.
Mr Sherry added: ‘This year works to replace ageing water mains were undertaken in Dundalk and Drogheda. In planning to undertake such works, we try insofar as possible to minimise disruption to the local community. We realise that works and road closures inconvenience the public, but we ask people to think of the long term benefits. New sections of essential water infrastructure should reduce the likelihood of service disruption to customers in areas where mains have been upgraded. Louth County Council would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused during these and all works that result in any disruption to the public’.
Water service announcements and weather forecasts can be found on Louth County Council’s Twitter feed - @LouthCoCo.
A Louth County Council technician monitors equipment at a Council manned water treatment plant.