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Water extension for Westport

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Water extension for Westport

ANTON MCNULTY

WESTPORT will soon be getting a new and reliable water supply, after Mayo County Council received the go-ahead to complete a pipeline that will see the town supplied from Lough Mask.
The Department of the Environment has approved ambitious plan to extend the Lough Mask Regional Water Supply Scheme from Srah to Westport. The project, which will cost just over €21.3 million, will include a new trunk water main to Westport, a 4,000 cubic metre reservoir at Farnaught, near Westport, improvements to the raw water pumping station and an upgrade and expansion of the water treatment plant. Dick Roche
The production capacity of the plant will increase substantially from 27,500 cubic metres per day to a new daily output of 40,600 cubic metres.
The cost of the project will be funded under the Department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2005-2007 and the Minister for the Environment, Mr Dick Roche TD (pictured) has said his Department will cover the cost of the infrastructure needed to service domestic consumers.
The Council will be able to invite tenders for the project once they submit a funding proposal to the Department that complies with the Polluter Pays Policy. Under the Polluter Pays Policy, the marginal extra costs of servicing the non-domestic sector must be funded by the local authority through development levies and commercial water charges. However, it is understood that the Polluter Pays Policy will not be an issue for the Council and the project should go ahead without much delay.
The extension of the water supply from Srah to Westport will be a boost for the economy of the town which has often had to postpone ambitious projects because of the inadequate water supply. It has also affected the tourist sector of the town and the surrounding area with many tourists staying in holiday homes voicing their concern over the water quality. 
Minister Roche has told Fianna Fáil TD, John Carty that the project will ensure that Westport consumers can rely on the high quality water supply that will have a capacity to meet current and future needs in and around the town.
The project also involves the upgrading of the Lough Mask Water Treatment Plant at Tourmakeady to enable it to meet existing and future demands.
The Minister also announced that he has given approval for the Council to prepare Contract Documents for the €6.3 million project that will connect Louisburgh to the Lough Mask Regional Water Supply Scheme. The new connection will replace the the current water supply drawn from Bunowen River which was deemed inadequate to meet the demands of the area.
Both announcements have been welcomed by Westport area councillor, Margaret Adams.
“The extra capacity of water will cater for the needs of Westport and its environs well into the future, while the approval of the Louisburgh scheme is vital to the people of the area, who have suffered for far too long with an inadequate supply of water, which was a hindrance to the expansion of the town. This water supply will also serve the areas of Murrisk and Lecanvey, who have been dependent on water from the mountain to supply the ever-growing needs of these areas.”