Archive for June, 2017

Never Transparent with Irish Water

June 17th, 2017 -- Posted in Active, Irish Water, Politics, Water Directive | No Comments »

When working with Irish Water, nothing is simple and nothing is transparent.  Irish Water was unclear from its’ conception and continually presents itself as a Commercial Company when it wishes and a Government Utility when that is convenient.  Most people are not aware that Irish Water claim to Utility is that it is under the Gas Networks showing again the un-clear position.  From this, we do not ever feel we are being given all the information or the full story.

When queried by Professor Paul Johnston in the Oral Hearing about the slipway reconstruction, we got the nervous feeling that they were hiding something.  Heavy rock breaking equipment will be use next to the clay/mud dam of 1865 and the amount of solid rock to be removed is frightening.  When asked about vibration sensors being installed, there was silence.  The word leak was first mentioned in this response and although Irish Water had said that the 4.8 ML/day coming from the spillway was “unpredictable springs”, we have indicated that springs are not unpredictable and this might be explained as a LEAK.  Living down from the Dam, all of us are concerned that this subject was not considered important enough to flag a full independent EIA.

Again we fail to see the numbers adding up in their proposed “Upgrade”.  We know that 200 Million is budgeted and it will end up over 250 million when complete.  Irish Water says “No New Abstraction”.  We understand clearly why that is said, because if there is any new abstraction they fall under the 1942 Water Services Act and that would mean agreement of all of the Riparian Owners, us.  They have clearly stated some of the figures so let me try and make sense of these.  When convenient Irish Water states the average leakage as 10ML/day but it continually rises and recent times it has been over 15ML/day sometimes.  However to complicate matters more, they “Pump back” which is by throwing a big pipe into the river downstream of the leak, they take the water back into the works balancing out the leak.

Current Abstraction – 75 ML/day of which 10ML/day of which is leaked to the River Vartry and 65ML/day to Dublin.

(The new treatment works has the capacity of 85/90ML/day but they have no authorisation for this)

Annagolan Abstraction – 1.2 ML/day is taken down stream for Ashford/Cronrow leaving 8.8 ML/day into the river.

(Currently they are delivering 4.8 ML/day after pumping back which ends up as 3.6ML/day for the river after Annagolan Abstraction.)

Future Abstraction – 80ML/day which is the 75ML + the 5ML Compensatory Flow, however they will not be able to pump back from the day of Planning Permission, and have to close the Annagolan Abstraction within 6 months of commissioning the new plant.

What that means in the math is a gain of 10ML/day to Dublin but less 1.2ML/day to Ashford or 8.8 ML/day that they can sell to Dublin.

According to what was going to be charged via the water meters this works out to €2440.00 per million litres or a saving of 7.8 Million Euro per year.

I believe no sensible business would spend 250 million to gain 7.8 million euro a year.  Something doesn’t add up in the numbers game.  What are they not telling us?  Why not just work elsewhere on the Shannon and leave the Vartry Reservoir to struggle on until it is no longer necessary.  Why?



River Vartry vs Irish Water Oral Hearing Complete

June 15th, 2017 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, History, Irish Water, Politics, River Basin Management, Threats, Water Directive | No Comments »

The Oral Hearing is now complete and we would like to update everyone on the process and the sense of it as there are no results or conclusion that can be drown until a decision is made by An Bord Pleanála. There are some thing promised to look at that might give you a “better picture” of it. First have a look at the film Film – Save the River Vartry.

We are very satisfied with our performance over the three days, with little that we could improved upon. Alan Doyle, or solicitor gave an iron-clad argument for the absolute Legal Requirement for an EIA that was not required by the WCC. The lawyer for Irish Water did not even attempt to place counter arguments but just responded in a few words of “well I won’t waste the Inspectors and everyone’s time, that is what Mr. Doyle thinks, it is just not so.” Did he suspect, know, presume that the Inspector would never delay the building of the new Water Treatment Works by sending it back to Wicklow County Council for an EIA and a new planning process. He is probably right, as I too felt the decision was already made. The Oral Hearing might only be for our benefit to feel heard.

They may accommodate some of our concerns with further Conditions as the Inspector asked for a full list and Irish Water agreed to most of the conditions but… The Inspector is not obligated to place all our conditions to the Bord, nor is An Bord Pleanála required to listen to what the Inspector recommends. They very often these days, go against the Inspectors.

Before going into details, I have to say that EVERYONE behaved very kindly and friendly with little or almost no Adversarial Behaviour. There was a bit of it when Irish Water were trying destroy Inland Fisheries Ireland director Brian Beckett. It probably should have been stopped, and I was intending to point it out later, the impoliteness of it all, but people were too tired after three days. Even Irish Water’s Barrister had absorbed that this was a friendly atmosphere and that kind of cross-examination vs discussion was for the courts. Brian is one of the most knowledgeable persons of great integrity, and of absolute devotion to the Fish and the Rivers. We should all appreciate how fortunate we are to have him and his team looking after our Rivers.

Here is an interview with East Coast FM that gives some of the details I shared

There are several subject Headings for those who would like some detail.

EIA Case

The process of the Oral Hearing was flawed by the fact that at the hearing Irish Water gave us new material that was never part of the Planning Process and should have been. At 17:30 on Monday in 5 minutes, I found out what putting the discharge into the “head of the works” (which is all that was said in granting planning permission) really meant in a verbal explanation. I needed then to study up until 3:00 am to return at 9:00 am and produce my counter argument. This information will not reach the public and will never be seen by you and others who deserve to see this in proper sustainable planning. This was only one of the many new things like the methid how Irish Water are going to give us the limited 5ML/day “Compensatory Flow”. Something so fundamental should be part of the planning process and available for 6 weeks for you to comment on.
This objection that we made at the Oral Hearing was noted. Even such bad practice on behalf of the Planning Office and Irish Water, will not send this back to WCC.
The legal case for and EIA is sound and unshakeable. If someone is interested, write a comment and we will send it to you. That too is likely to be ignored.

Irish Water says 5ML/day was good since 1865 and the river was good, so we are going back to that!

This was picked arbitrarily and then on Monday backed up with Science done to prove that the arbitrary figure is correct. All of the data we have on flows is from 1950-1978 or mid-last century! There are “spot flows” taken a few days without having rain data or the raw data supplied. Any flow is nonsense without know if it rained two days before because the river can swell 5-7 inches from two nights of moderate rain. To illustrate the nonsense of this, I presented the picture of the place where the flow data was collected 70 years ago.

The little shed is now 3 meters away horizontally and 3 meters vertically from water. What is more evident is that Irish Water’s claim all is the same as it was for the last 150 years. Can you imagine what that gorge looked like in 1950 for water coming up to the red arrow on the picture above.

But unfortunately I think our argument for more water fell on deaf ears and will not be taken up. What we know absolutely is that the 5ML/day is 1/4 of what we are getting now, being leaks or not.

Fish Stocks

Brian Beckett and the IFI made the point that at Ashford and Newrath the fish quality went from GODD to HIGH in the last 2 years, parallel to us having more water. Irish Water wanted to destroy this argument completely, therefore the attack on him. Their attack was three pronged. First they said the increase was based on the decommission of the Ashford Treatment Work. We countered with the fact that surely it had some bearing but not of the increase in Ashford since that is above where the treatment works is! The second attack was that the EPA lists the status to GOOD still. IFI explained that this was in discussion, they had not updated their numbers and that they take the lowest value overall. The third point was that the status was GOOD before 2007 when the leaks started. IFI explained that the WFD only started then and there were not the statuses at that time. They were pressured to say that probably the status if compared would perhaps be equivalent to GOOD and Irish Water took that as a confirmation that the status has not changed, against our national experts on Fish.

I promised to put up the photos and video of the spawn. The fish are so resilient that in early November when we had two weeks light rain, there was enough water and the Salmon at sea knew that it would be the only opportunity and rushed up river for the spawn. Here is a video taken of just that and two more of the care and kindness of the Vartry Conservation and Angler’s Club shown to the fish as they only take sea trout on a catch and release program.

River Vartry Oral Hearing Monday 12th June

June 10th, 2017 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, Irish Water, Politics, River Basin Management, Threats, Water Directive | 3 Comments »

The day has almost arrived and we hope all of you will be there to help support our final drive to get Irish Water to do right by the Environment.

Here is a short video that we produced for this occasion. Save the River Vartry

We start at 11:00 on the 12th of June 2017 at the Glenview Hotel, Glen of the Downs. 13th and 14th start at 9:30

It is a David vs Goliath, River Vartry Protection Society vs Irish Water kind of event. We have great stones in our little pouch that can kill a giant, but it depends on skills on the day. Are we scared? Sure! When you face an ugly giant like Irish Water, you have reason to be afraid, but sometime right wins over wrong.

They spent hundreds of thousands of euro to hire the best consultants and lawyers to defend against us, but had they used this money to educate people about saving water instead, they would have the water they refuse the River Vartry.