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6. Public water infrastructure: what the future holds - Sean Laffey, Irish Water


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On 17 and 18 June 2020 the EPA held its National Water Event as an online conference.

This year's theme was 'Restoring our waters'.

This years event was free to attend. It was the EPA's largest water event ever, with over 1250 attending.

To everyone who joined us: thanks for attending; thanks for your probing questions; thanks for your passion; thanks for caring about our waters. We can achieve more working together.

Special thanks to all our presenters and the team who worked behind the scenes to make sure this years conference happened.

For science and stories about water quality in Ireland, check out

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6. Public water infrastructure: what the future holds - Sean Laffey, Irish Water

  1. 1. Public Water Infrastructure: Progress and Challenges Sean Laffey Irish Water – Head of Asset Management EPA Water Conference 2020 Restoring our Waters
  2. 2. 2 Progress to Date Treatment Built or upgraded 102 WWTP’s since 2014 Investment Invested more than €4bn in water services UWWTD Compliance with UWWTD treatment from 39% in 2013 to 45% by end of 2020 WWDA Increase from 33% compliance with WWDA ELVs in 2013 to 44% by 2020
  3. 3. 3 Drainage Area Plans DAPs will help us to:  Understand the hydraulic performance of the network  Understand current and future risks  Identify solutions to mitigate risks. 44 DAPs started - 30 complete 58 DAPs completed by 2024 Cost c€50m Tranche 3
  4. 4. Untreated Agglomerations 4 44 Untreated Agglomerations listed by EPA in 2013 15 Untreated Agglomerations Complete 29 Agglomerations Remaining + Additional 6 added by EPA since 2014 Stopped discharge of over 17MLD of raw sewage (44% of the total)
  5. 5. River Basin Management Plan 2018- 2021 • Supportive of the prioritisation approach in the second cycle - 255 WWTPs: – all significant pressures targeted in Priority Areas for Action (51 No). – 28 completed by 2021. • Irish Water is delivering significant investment and expect to have 124 WWTP upgrades completed by 2021. • Supportive of the governance and implementation structures that have been set up – strong collaboration established between stakeholders.
  6. 6. River Basin Management Plan – Third Cycle • Significant investment in WWTP upgrades in the 3rd cycle. • Significant budget demands and our Investment Plan for 2020 - 2024 is now committed. • We will be looking to see what further measures we could provide at modest cost targeted to achieve best WFD outcomes. • Strongly supportive of a targeted prioritisation approach in order to achieve best possible WFD outcomes.
  7. 7. Opportunities to do more for less Example One: Nature Based Solutions (NBS) • Nature Based Solutions such as constructed wetlands can provide climate resilient, low carbon, low opex solutions and also provide biodiversity and social amenity benefits. • We are proposing a NBS Research and Innovation programme to: • Gather robust evidence. • Optimise a suite of NBS. Layout of Lixnaw Integrated Constructed Wetlands (ICW) in County Kerry currently under construction
  8. 8. Opportunities to do more for less Example Two: Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) • There is a trend in cities worldwide for the adoption of BGI • Benefits include: - climate resilience - reduced flooding - reduced SWO spills - better air quality - greener, more liveable urban spaces - supports compact growth • We are engaging with LA and Regional Assembly stakeholders to see how we can collaborate and support this approach.
  9. 9. Opportunities to do more for less • We recognize that biodiversity is essential for life and that urgent action is required to address the current Biodiversity Emergency. • We have developed a Biodiversity Action Alan (BAP) to help us to conserve, enhance and work with nature. • This BAP identifies a range of biodiversity enhancement measures to be applied across our 7,000 sites in collaboration with LA’s. • Low cost and even cost saving measures to make us more sustainable Example Three: Biodiversity Action Plan
  10. 10. Irish Waters National Water Resources Plan • 25 year strategy to ensure we have a sustainable, secure and reliable drinking water supply for everyone. • Balance supply and demand for drinking water over short, medium and long term. • Assess amount of available water and demand for this water now and into the future. • Identifies ways to ensure there will be enough water to meet these demands. Why do we need it? •European and national policy •Water Framework Directive •Standard practice for water utilities •Water Services Strategic Plan •Sets out clear Irish Water approach and targets
  11. 11. Capacity of supply chain Complexity of delivering projects Budget Increased capital maintenance / emerging needs Climate and Biodiversity emergencies Impact of C19 11 Challenges
  12. 12. Thank you