Protest over Lough Ree water extraction plans

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 2:37pm

Protest over Lough Ree water extraction plans

The Portaneena amenity area in Ballykeeran.

A major protest on the shores of Lough Ree against Irish Water's controversial plans for water extraction from the lake in Portaneena is planned later this month.

Ballykeeran Residents Association has erected signage at the amenity area promoting the protest at that location on Saturday, January 12, at 2pm.
The action comes on foot of revised plans and significant further information submitted by Irish Water on the contentious extraction plans in Portaneena recently. 
The proposal seeks planning approval for two major pieces of infrastructure (a new raw water intake works, and a water treatment plant) at Portaneena, Killinure. 
The intake works and water treatment plant are designed to pave the way for up to nine million gallons of water per day to be extracted from Lough Ree at Portaneena.
Back in 2007, An Bord Pleanala gave the green light for an abstraction order to take water from the lake; however, the plans never progressed any further in the intervening years.
As part of the project the raw water intake works would be located within the site of the existing and popular amenity area at Portaneena, just a few miles from Glasson, and owned by Westmeath County Council, while the water treatment plant will be located some 250 metres away.
The state utility company says the contentious proposal is necessary to increase the security of the water supply for customers in Athlone, Mullingar and Moate and surrounding areas.

There have been significant water supply issues in the Athlone area over the last two years.
Public submissions are currently open on the revised plans and Ballykeeran Residents Association has warned Westmeath County Council that planning approval for the project would “destroy the ecosystem of the inner lakes” and cause “irreparable damage”.
The association said it had “no issue with the abstraction of water from the Shannon for the public good, rather our issue is with the proposed location of the intake works and water treatment plant”.
It argues that a water abstraction option from the High Lake option be considered instead. 


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