MORE than 55% of water produced in Cork is still being lost, according to new figures.
Records from Cork City Council, provided by Irish Water, show that in January, 56.34% of water produced at the Lee Road and Inniscarra water treatment plants was lost to leaks.
The figure is a slight improvement on the same period five years ago when 59.5% was being lost.
Councillor Thomas Gould (SF) said the loss of water would be much less if Cork City Council was still responsible for providing water and wastewater services.
“Nationally, we have spent hundreds of millions on Irish Water and it looks like this has accomplished very little. Yes, we have water treatment plants around the country but for the amount of money that has been spent, we have no reduction in water lost. The whole point was to repair and replace pipes and there would be a slow decline in the loss of water.
“Councillors met with Irish Water last year and I believe the figure they were looking at was a 13% saving of water lost over three years. I thought that was conservative for Cork.
“If Cork City Council and the other local authorities had been given the hundreds of millions in support Irish Water has received, a better job would have been done. Here we are now in a position where well over 50% of water is being lost.
“There is no accountability for the money that is being spent. Cork City Council could have presided over a dramatic reduction in figures but instead, it has gone the opposite way.
“It’s not in the hands of City Council and things like roads, waste management and water have been taken away from the Council but they haven’t gotten better,” he added.
Irish Water has changed the method of calculation for the percentage of unaccounted for water which has resulted in a higher percentage estimate of water lost. Originally, the figure used for the daily water used per person was 153.1 litres but is now 125 litres.
Irish Water and Cork City Council are currently replacing over 3.5 kilometres of old, damaged pipes in with MacCurtain St with modern, high-density polyethene plastic pipes.
Irish Water is replacing these mains to improve the security of water supply for residents and businesses by tackling the high levels of water leakage.
Works on the south side of MacCurtain Street, including Harley Street, began in January and are expected to be completed by the end of this month.
Works on the north side of MacCurtain Street, are expected to be completed by the end of May. Works in adjoining streets will continue to September completing a mains upgrade in the area.
Steven Blennerhassett, of the Irish Water Leakage Reduction Programme said: “Most of the water mains network in this bustling part of Cork City is extremely dated. As they get older, cast iron pipes can become severely corroded and have a high level of leakage as well as being subject to frequent bursts.
At present, it is estimated that almost half the treated drinking water in Ireland is lost to leaks in the network.”