Top priority has been given by Kilkenny County Council to the problem of water cut-offs in the Ferrybank and Slieverue areas following a large number of breakdowns in the domestic supply in recent weeks.

Protests over the water outages in South Kilkenny, which have caused much anger, were voiced this week at a meeting of the Council’s Piltown Electoral Area Committee.

The break down in the water supply was described as ‘unacceptable’ by Cllr. Pat Walsh (FF) who said the upgrading of the water pipes should be given priority. He welcomed the news that work would be completed on the project by the summer of next year and said it was not before time. He said residents of Ferrybank and Slieverue had to put up with a number of water cut-offs recently and it was simply not good enough.

Senior Engineer Water Services, Billy Mernagh, said the upgrading of the Mooncoin Regional Water Scheme was number one on the priority list for capital schemes in County Kilkenny. Already the EIS had been lodged and approved and planning for ancillary buildings would be published in the coming weeks.

The first draft of the contract documents for phase one of the project has already been prepared and the documents were currently under examination and pre-qualification of contractors to construct phase one of the works was underway, he said.

It was hoped to commence construction later this summer and it was expected that it would be completed in summer 2010. Phase one included a new ground water source in Kilmacow, new treatment plant near Cloone and, most importantly for the Ferrybank and Slieverue areas, a new storage reservoir at Ballinvoher. Pipe lines would be installed to take the water from the source to the reservoir and the pipe network.

Mr. Mernagh said phase one of the project would ensue a much improved water supply for the Ferrybank and Slieverue areas.