Controversial €1.3 Billion Shannon-Dublin Pipeline Criticised In US

Controversial plans to pump water from the River Shannon in Clare to Dublin has been described in the US, as an environmentally dubious and a wasteful scheme.

The 1.3 billion euro 172km pipeline would see water drained from the Shannon basin at Parteen and pumped across the country to the Greater Dublin Area, to address water deficits there.

Speaking in New York-based Irish Central, Professor of Politics and Government at Ohio Wesleyan University, Sean Kay, claimed the project risks serious environmental harm to the river.


The plan got cabinet approval last year and Gerry Siney from the the River Shannon Protection Alliance Group, says it goes to show it simply doesn’t make sense.

Statement from Irish Water 

The Water Supply Project, Eastern and Midlands Region (WSP) will be the first major comprehensive upgrade to Ireland’s “New Source” infrastructure in the region in over 60 years and will be designed to meet the needs of our growing population.

Extensive studies and research have been undertaken to identify and assess all possible options to meet the future water supply requirements of the region including desalination. The Parteen Basin option was identified as the preferred scheme as it delivers the widest benefit to the greatest number of people, with the least environmental impact and in the most cost effective manner. It involves abstracting just 2% of the average long-term flow of the Shannon at Parteen Basin.

Leakage reduction is a high priority for Irish Water, however water saved from fixing leaks is not enough to meet a future demand. The reality is a combination of leakage reduction and the development of a new source is necessary to meet the water supply requirements of the Region. Currently leakage in Dublin is at 37%, we are investing €500million in the national leakage reduction programme between 2017 and 2021 to reduce this further. At the moment 85% of the water supplied in the Greater Dublin Water Supply Area is sourced from the River Liffey which is at the limit of what is environmentally sustainable. The proposed project is needed to ensure supply meets demand and to address extreme weather events such as droughts and storms and the impact of climate change.

Irish Water is now updating the Water Supply Project data and calculations to take account of the forthcoming National Development Plan, the 2016 Census and our first ever National Water Resources Plan, which sets out the supply demand balance over the next 25 years.  We are also progressing with the preparation of a planning application for the Project, including an Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Natura Impact Statement to An Bord Pleanála and an abstraction licence application to the EPA following the enactment of the abstraction legislation.