A public meeting on the future of the Stillorgan Reservoir took place last Thursday, 2 May.

Currently operated by Irish Water, the government agency says that it “is progressing with works on the construction of a new covered storage reservoir as part of the Stillorgan Reservoir Upgrade.

“This is a priority project for Irish Water and necessary to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of water to over 200,000 people in south Dublin.

After almost 150 years serving the community, the Stillorgan Reservoir will be modernised to adequately meet current requirements and the needs of future generations.”

The plans for the reservoir is to place a cover on top and landscape the grounds. This would create 15 acres in available space but the site would be kept private to the public.

Sandyford Business District are calling on the site to be opened to the public as they say the space could be an important “public amenity for use by the 40,000 residents and 25,000 employees in the area with health, social, environmental and economic benefits.”

“As one of the public representatives who spoke on the evening, I emphasised the fact that consultation with residents in the adjacent estates was crucial and that it was also important to have Irish Water on board,” says Independent councillor, Deirdre Donnelly.

“I felt that there was a bit of confusion about the opening up of some of the land where there are no lakes and the building over the actual lakes once a roof goes on.

“There was some discussion regarding sports facilities, walkways, green spaces, etc. but no mention of who was going to fund its development or its upkeep. These issues need to be addressed as part of an overall campaign,” Donnelly says.

According to Fine Gael councillor, John Kennedy, the site is zoned under ‘Objective F’ which means at least part of the reservoir site must be set aside for “open space and amenities.”

“Irish Water could consider responding to general public sentiment – as a goodwill gesture towards the community – by agreeing to permit public access at least up to the year 2030, as the landscaped area would otherwise remain idle for a decade, which makes little sense and would represent a considerable waste,” says Kennedy.

“Instead of intending to permit access to such land to the public, Irish Water plans to landscape this area and keep it under lock and key.”

In a statement made by Irish Water to Dublin Gazette, the agency says that “the site will remain a live drinking water storage, treatment, and distribution centre.

“Irish Water must maintain a secure site to protect this critical water supply asset. As an active water supply site with high pressure pipes and valves, the use of the site for active open space in the form of publicly accessible parkland or playing pitches is not feasible or appropriate.

“Planning permission for the reservoir works was granted, subject to sixteen planning conditions, by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on the 1 June 2017.

“An appeal was lodged to An Bord Pleanala seeking the removal of one of the conditions which is to provide publicly accessible open space within the site.

“In December 2017, An Bord Pleanala approved the planning application to ensure the entire site is retained for this future development.”