MORE than half the water produced in Cork city is wasted, according to an environmental report issued by Cork City Council.
In fact, the report confirmed that at least 53% of water produced every month since January 2015 is 'unaccounted for.'
The figures are calculated on a standardised approach using CSO data and surveys in areas where meters have been installed.
The revelations have led to urgent calls for an upgrade to the city's water infrastructure.
Irish Water has been carrying out planned upgrades to the city's water network over the last two years, spending almost €16 million on the replacement of 27km of old water mains in Blackpool, Commons Road and along the city quays.
The utility provider estimates that this is saving 8.3 million litres of water per week.
Irish Water has confirmed that it is currently progressing plans for the next phase of its water mains rehabilitation programme, a move which it said will save a further 10.5 million litres of water each week.
However, Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Gould has dismissed the work done to date, claiming that it has made little difference in the city.
The report issued to councillors shows that the percentage of water lost has not dropped below 53% at any stage in the last two-and-a-half years.
In fact, the 55.2% recorded in August 2017 exceeded the figure for the same month in each of the last two years.
"It is a damning report," Mr Gould said.
"It makes you question why that money was spent on metering and not on replacing pipes and infrastructure.
"There has been no real decrease in the volume of water unaccounted for in the last two and a half years, despite a major programme of metering and some works throughout the city, in places like Blackpool and Gerald Griffin St. Our water infrastructure is archaic, it is old and it needs to be replaced."
Mr Gould said that leaky pipes are just part of the issue.
"We also have quite a wide array of lead pipes which we know pose health issues."
"The government spent all this money on meters instead of replacing lead pipes or our old leaking pipes," he said.
"We need a planned modernisation of the water infrastructure in this country, it's as simple as that."