Almost a thousand burst water pipes in last two years

THERE have been almost a thousand burst water pipes in Donegal in the last two years, the second highest number in the state, according to figures obtained from Irish Water.
Water outages have become a common occurrence in certain areas of the county, in particular Letterkenny and Inishowen, where high numbers of bursts have been recorded.
There were 909 bursts that had the potential for a water outage reported by Donegal County Council to Irish Water in 2021 and 2020. This was the second highest figure nationally, behind Cork where there was a massive 3,962 bursts over that period. There was a reduction in the number of bursts in Donegal in 2021 – down from 495 to 414.
In 2021 Letterkenny had 41 bursts which is substantially higher than any other area of the county. Thirty per cent of the bursts in Letterkenny last year were in the Ard O’Donnell District Metering Area, according to the figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request.
Areas serviced by the Eddie Fullerton Pollan Dam were also subjected to a high number of bursts last year (38). This supply covers south Inishowen as well as Carrigans, Newtowncunningham and Manorcunningham areas.
Meanwhile, the Ballybofey-Stranorlar area had 17 bursts last year. Rathmullan had eleven bursts, there were eight in Carrigart, eight in Raphoe, six in Killygordon, and five in Ramelton. Areas in the south of the county also recorded a high number of bursts, for instance there were twelve in Ballyshannon in 2021.
A major burst in Ballybofey last December was one that impacted the highest number of people – between 5,001 and 10,000 customers. A burst trunk water main at Fahan last October also impacted this many customers.
Asked to comment on the high number of bursts in Donegal a spokesperson for Irish Water told the Donegal News that since the establishment of the utility company Donegal has had one of the highest levels of investment of any county in Ireland, receiving almost €300 million on water and wastewater upgrades.
“Irish water is committed to providing safe and secure drinking water for all of our customers and to ensuring treated wastewater is discharged back into the environment in a responsible manner in compliance with licences provided by the Environmental Protection Agency,” said the spokesperson.
“As a regulated utility, Irish Water continues to work with Donegal County Council on a daily basis to ensure that the high standards of water and wastewater services are maintained, while ensuring that any interruptions to service are minimised. As part of the management of water services, Irish Water in partnership with Donegal County Council are repairing bursts across the county as and when they occur to ensure that drinking water supply is returned to customers as quickly and safely as possible. In 2021 we saw a 16 per cent reduction in bursts in Donegal with a potential for outages compared to 2020 and we are working hard to drive this down further as part of a number of investment programmes.
“One such programme is the Leakage Reduction Programme, which started in 2017 and saw over €500m invested to reduce the high leakage rate in our water network. We are investing a further €600 million up to the end of 2024 in fixing leaks to provide a more reliable water supply. Some of Ireland’s water network, particularly in urban areas is over a century old.
“Irish Water’s Leakage Reduction Programme will fix or replace old, damaged pipes and remove any lead pipes from the public network. Households who currently share a supply connection will also be directly connected to the public watermains. This will ensure that customers have a more reliable service and experience fewer water outages due to bursts and leaks.
“Irish Water understands the inconvenience when a burst occurs and thanks customers for their patience while we work to restore normal supply to impacted customers as and when they occur.”
They asked any customers expressing concerns regarding outages to contact the Irish Water customer care helpline which is open 24/7 on 1800 278 278 or on Twitter @IWCare.

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