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04 Dec 2021

Concerns over quality of water in Kilkenny raised at council meeting

Concerns over quality of water in Kilkenny raised at council meeting

Access to clean water is a basic human right - Cllr John Brennan

Kilkenny has a long way to go in terms of water quality and the quality of its surface water is below the national average.
These were some of the findings of a detailed report, the Draft River Basin Management Plan which was presented to members of Kilkenny County Council at their monthly meeting.
Ms Carole McCarthy, Catchment Team Manager at LAWPRO told members that the draft plan, which was published in September, has now gone out to public consultation for a period of six years. The plan, which aims to ‘protect and restore good water quality in all natural waters’ revealed that Kilkenny is worse than the national average.
65 sites were monitored for surface water and out of those 18 had deteoriated with eight had improved.
“There is a long way to go in Kilkenny in terms of water quality. Nitrate and phosphorus levels are too high and the trends are going in the wrong direction,” said Ms McCarthy who added that a specific plan would be made in relation to the catchment areas of the Rivers Barrow, Suir and Nore.
“Agriculture is the biggest pressure in water quality and there are proposals for a strong nitrates action programme,” she added.
Cllr John Brennan who is also chairman of the Kilkenny Rural Water Monitoring Committee said that the ‘public expection is that clean and safe drinking water is a basic human right’.
“I have an issue with the lack of progress with Irish Water and the upgrading of water schemes in towns and villages,” he said.
Cllr David Fitzgerald also told the meeting that the issue of nitrates has ‘huge consequences for this county’.
“We need to deal with the nitrates issue through support and investment and not through demonising farmers and we need to clarify what steps have been taken with the Irish Farmers Association to address the nitrates issues.
Meanwhile Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh remarked that ‘a lot more education and work needs to be done for farmers. In general we care about the environment as much as someone who lives in the city,” she said.
Cllr Maria Dollard sad that it is ‘distressing that we have some of the worse water in the country’.
Cllr Michael Doyle called for an investment from Irish Water and the government for an upgraded infrastructure in towns and villages added that hard water was costing householders hundreds of euros in filtration and replacing applicances.
Concerns were also raised by some members that an inadequate water system was resulting in planning applications been refused in certain areas.
Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick said that you ‘can’t build houses in North Kilkenny as we don’t have the water infrastructure’ and asked how many planning applications had been refused because of lack of connection to Irish Water.
Cllr Denis Hynes said that one of his concerns was that houses had been refused planning in the Paulstown area due to lack of facilities by Irish Water.

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