Implementing a National Water Utility - Water Ireland Conference

May 14, 2013

Byrne Looby attended today’s Water Ireland conference in Ashbourne, Dublin. Hosted by Kevin Murray the event had an extended line up featuring speakers from Bord Gais/Irish Water, Northern Ireland Water, Scottish Water, Dublin City Council, the EPA, the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, the OPW, CIT and TCD.

The event was opened by Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan who spoke about the need for a new structure for water in Ireland, the ambitious programme of work Irish Water were facing and the international potential for Irish Water in the long term.

Peter Gammeltoft discussed the key aspects of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources, outlining the importance of river basin management plans, incentive pricing and water management in agriculture. He also highlighted the need for water efficiency in buildings and the need for an EU policy standard for water reuse.

John Barry, Irish Water’s Programme Director, echoed Minister Hogan emphasising the scale and ambition of Irish Water’s roll out. He acknowledged that there was a need to educate people about the value of water and that communications would be a critical area for Irish Water. Mr. Barry said that the scale of the water meter roll out was unprecedented; the target is to install 27,000 meters per month.

Micheal O Cinneide from the EPA outlined the water quality improvements that would be required for Ireland by 2021. Representatives from Northern Ireland Water and Scottish Water shared their experiences of establishing water utility companies and the Consumer Council of Northern Ireland outlined the importance of consumer engagement.

The evening session included Tom Leahy from Dublin City Council who discussed the Dublin Flood Initiative and Jim Casey from the OPW who gave a presentation on Irish coast protection strategy. Representative from CIT and TCD concluded the event with discussions around innovation and energy recovery in the water industry.

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