13 August 2016
By Elaine Murphy
National metering programme estimates leakage of water at 48% across Co. Cork and 52% in Cork City
Leakage of water from the network is a serious problem on a national scale and that is reflected in Co. Cork. Lost water is estimated at 47% nationally based on figures from the national metering programme, with those figures rising to 48% for Co. Cork and 52% for Cork City.
Figures just released to the end of March this year have shown that 1,560 householders in Cork city and county benefited from Irish Water’s First Fix Free scheme as the utility responsible for the country’s water and waste water management urges more householders to avail of the free service.
Irish Water’s First Fix Free scheme launched in early 2015 across all metering regions in Cork and throughout the country. To the end of March, 75,974 properties were identified with customer side leaks, 9,434 of which have been found in Cork.
In 2014 it was estimated that water leakage levels could be as high as 49%. This figure was based on limited data, estimated customer use and varying methods of calculating leakage around the country. As a single utility, Irish Water is able to standardise methods of calculation of leaks and properly understand how much water households use through our domestic meter dataset of approximately 850,000 connections.
In May 2014 the Government announced funding of €51m for a scheme to address water leakage on pipework within a customer’s property boundary under a ‘First Fix’ scheme. Under the scheme Irish Water notifies customers where suspected leakage is occurring within the boundary of the property outside the home and offer a free leak investigation and repair if appropriate. The vast majority of leaks are underground so go unnoticed and undetected.
To avail of the scheme, customers must have a confirmed leak on their external supply pipe; have water meter installed on their property (so the leak can be verified); and have a working and accessible inside stop valve.
Irish Water’s Water Conservation Strategy Specialist Kate Gannon, welcomed the number of householders in Cork who are availing of First Fix Free while encouraging greater uptake of the scheme:
“Leakage of water from the network is a serious problem on a national scale and that is reflected here in Cork. Lost water is estimated at 47% nationally. 9,434 households in Cork will have already received a letter indicating a potential leak on their property and these householders should contact Irish Water, if they haven’t done so already, to request a free leak investigation. We will then issue them with a First Fix Repair Scheme offer detailing the terms and conditions of the repair. This really is a great opportunity to potentially avail of a free fix and I am urging any customers who have received a letter, or who may be aware of a leak within their property boundary outside of their home, to get in touch with Irish Water.
“Almost 30,000 customers have already contacted Irish Water to avail of a free leak investigation including 3,811 in Cork. If you contact us about requesting a leak investigation one of the Irish Water team will contact you within 10 working days to arrange a convenient time to visit. Under the First Fix Leak Repair Scheme 595 households in Cork have had leaks fixed for free, but there is much more work to do and we need customers across Cork to get in touch by telephoning LoCall 1850 278 278 or through our website water.ie.”
More information about the First Fix Leak Repair Scheme for Domestic Water Customers is available at water.ie/water-supply/first-fix/