A WATER leakage rate of 25.26% for the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area has been described as “unreasonably high” by Irish Water and a local politician.
A leakage rate of 25.26% for the region was released by Irish Water to The Gazette for the year 2012.
A spokesperson for Irish Water said: “Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, according to the latest available figures from 2012, had an UFW [unaccounted for water, or leakage] figure of 25.26%.
“There are about 1,000km of public water mains in the county, and some level of leakage is inevitable. Up to recent years, there was no programme or funding for rehabilitation of water infrastructure.
“This history of under-investment over the decades has led to an aged and sub-standard network, where the economic level of leakage [the cost of lost water, versus the cost of leak detection and repair] is unacceptably high.
“The Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council [water] network is among the oldest in the country.
“Approximately 10% of mains are more than 100 years old, and a further 25% are spun-iron – a material that is prone to bursting, especially in cold weather.
“Over the past decade, the council has installed extensive water conservation measures, including district meter areas for water auditing, and automated pressure control equipment.
“The council [also] has an active water auditing and leakage unit,” said the spokesperson.
The local authority comes third on the list of Dublin councils with the most unaccounted for water for 2012.
Dublin City tops the list, with 39.89% of leaked water, followed by Fingal with 32.22%, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown with 25.26%, and finally, South Dublin, with 16.14%.
Outgoing councillor Jim O’Dea (FG) said: “A water leak percentage of 25.26% is unacceptably high, but one cannot take this figure in isolation – it has to be compared to other counties to really judge how bad it is.
“If one compares it to other areas where there is a leak percentage of up to 40%, then it is comparably low and compares well to other parts of the greater Dublin area.
“Given the facts that some of the piping is more than 100 years old, and that a further 25% of piping is made of spun-iron, which is prone to bursting in cold weather, we are rather fortunate that the water leak percentage isn’t higher.
“With the establishment of Irish Water and the substantial funding it will receive, as well as the water charges, we can look forward to a time in the not so distant future when the old and sub-standard piping is replaced, and we will see a big drop in the leakage rates.”
Last week, Irish Water announced its proposed capital investment plan for 2014 to 2016 in which, organisers say, investment is prioritised to deliver the most urgently needed improvements in drinking water quality, water availability, wastewater compliance, efficiencies, customer service and of course, leakage.
When contacted, the council said they could not comment on issues such as water leakage, and Irish Water was now the body to respond to such issues.