Environmental concerns for Vartry River following reservoir decision

2nd December 2016

Social Democrats Cllr Jennifer Whitmore has raised concerns about the decision to grant planning permission to Irish Water for their proposed e200m upgrade to the Vartry Reservoir in Roundwood, Co. Wicklow. 

Whitmore said “Planning permission was granted by Wicklow County Council last week to Irish Water for a e200m upgrade to the Vartry Reservoir, which will provide a new treatment plant and replace much of the ageing pipework in the system. “

“Whilst I welcome the investment in securing water supply for the county, I am concerned about some of the unintended consequences of this project. In particular, how it may impact on the Vartry, an EU designated salmonid river, which is downstream of the reservoir.”

“The upgrade will mean that any water that normally leaks from the 150yr old reservoir will now be retained by the new pipework. This upgrade in efficiency will mean that up to 2/3 of the water, that normally flows into the Vartry, will now not make it down into the river. This could have a significant impact on both the fish stocks and the underlying ecology of the system.”

“Unfortunately, an Environmental Impact Statement was not submitted as part of the planning process. The provision of such an assessment would be normally standard for a project of this size and I believe that, as a result, we do not have a clear picture of how this work will impact on the surrounding environment and, in particular, the River Vartry. “