A new, updated report, conducted by Kilkenny County Council on the Mooncoin Regional Water Scheme, has recommended that a major modernisation be undertaken at an estimated cost of €44m.

The report recommends that the scheme be implemented in two parts and that Phase 1, estimated to cost in the region of €16m, should proceed immediately.

Welcoming the news, Tullogher-based Councillor Pat Walsh said he had been very concerned in recent times about the delivery of safe, clean water but the corner had now been turned and the first phase of the project would go to tender in the coming weeks. Work would start this summer and the contract would take about one year to complete.

Involved would be the abstraction of 15,250cm of potable water per day from ground waters at four well-fields across South Kilkenny, treatment of that water and delivery to customers. Also included will be an upgrade of the existing water treatment plant at Clonassy near Mullinavat plus substantial network upgrades.

Councillor Walsh, a former resident of Rockenham, Ferrybank, said the improvements were badly needed. The exisisting Mooncoin Scheme was inadequate to meet both current and future demand and deficiencies had been identified that included insufficient capacity of current sources, inadequate storage, inadequate trunk and distribution main capacities, areas of low pressure and asset standards which did not meet present day requirements.

The existing network was not capable of delivering future demand requirements and, without improvement, customers that currently experienced interruptions in supply would continue to do so. Councillor Walsh said Phase 1 would solve a lot of problems but it was estimated that Phase 2 would be necessary in about twelve years time. That would involve taking water from the Blackwater River and treating it at a further upgraded treatment plant at Clonassy.