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Major Leakage Investigation Saves Over 500k Litres Of Water Per Day

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A major leakage investigation and repair project in Buncrana, Co Donegal, has helped save over 500,000 litres of water per day.

Irish Water worked alongside Donegal County Council to provide a more secure and reliable water supply for the town and surrounding areas.

The project team has saved enough drinking water to supply almost 3,900 people or the population equivalent of Manorcunningham, Newtowncunningham, Burnfoot, Fahan, Saint Johnston and Killea for a day.

Irish Water and Donegal County Council recognised that the water supply in Buncrana, the second most populated town in Donegal, was subject to a high level of leakage but there was a challenge in locating the water loss due to the limited information on the underground public network.

An extensive review of the network was carried out and, following the installation of a new public meter, crews were able to locate the leak and plan the repair.

The works involved the installation of a bulk meter, which gathers information about water usage and flow, on the Buncrana trunk main. The meter enabled crews to locate the underground leak on the public supply, which serves a large geographical area from Buncrana to Muff and Saint Johnson to Manorcunningham.

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Irish Water and Donegal County Council worked together to ensure the successful completion of the project and invaluable local knowledge, coupled with the fact that works took place overnight on 20 July 2021, helped minimise disruption to the local community.

Speaking about the success of the repair, Declan Cawley, Networks Regional Lead with Irish Water, said: "It is difficult to comprehend that over 500,000 litres of clean drinking water was being lost underground, every day. No water was surfacing on the ground, so the data was imperative for us to locate this leak. Water is a valuable resource and expensive to produce so finding this massive leak and successfully repairing it was of paramount importance. 

"In 2018 the rate of leakage nationally was 46%, by the end of 2020 it was 40% and we are currently on course to achieve a national leakage rate of 38% by the end of 2021. We would like to thank the communities, businesses, homeowners and commuters for their patience and cooperation as we continue to deliver vital network improvement works across the county helping safeguard the water supply in Donegal."

Speaking about the project Margaret Doherty, Executive Engineer for Water Conservation and Find and Fix Project with Donegal County Council added: "As a result of the collaboration between Donegal County Council and Irish Water, customers are enjoying a more secure and reliable water supply. 

"We were aware there was an underground leak on the public network, but we didn't know its exact location so we had to improve the infrastructure on the public network to direct us to the precise location of the leak.

"It took a lot of investigation and planning to repair the leak. We were losing valuable clean drinking water underground and water is precious, so to have fixed the leak and improved the network is a huge win.

"Securing the water supply in Donegal in the long term remains a vital focus and Donegal County Council and Irish Water are continuing with efforts to further drive down leakage in the area, which will meet the demands for the county into the future."

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