Council to hand over control of county's drinking water
Wexford County Council stood revealed last week as one of the county's biggest food industries, producing 40 million litres of drinkable water each day.
But, as director of services Eddie Taaffe explained, the job of slaking Model thirst will soon be passed on to a national body called Irish Water, with effect from the start of next year.
The director was a mine of statistics when he addressed councillors gathered for their July meeting in at the local authority's HQ in Carricklawn.
The members were told that the network includes 1,800 kilometres of public water main and serves 104,000 regular consumers who all depend on their taps to run.
And the organisation which delivers all those litres of cool, clear liquid is also responsible for dealing with all the soiled water that comes the other way.
The figures flashed up on the big screens around the council chamber included reference to 580 kilometres of public sewer and 71 waste water pumping stations.
His audience was particularly interested in two figures among the wash of data. 83 is the number of council jobs assigned to water work. 46,000 is the number of water metres due to be installed.
They were assured that the 83 staff will remain on the council pay-roll for at least 12 years, with the council retained by Irish Water to provide the local service.
And the job of fitting the 46,000 households with the meters is expected to begin next month – though Eddie Taaffe had no figure to offer for the charges which are bound to follow
However, he was able to tell the elected members that the system is already bringing in €6.7 million per annum in income to help offset the €18 million cost of providing the service.
From the beginning of 2014, Wexford will be part of Irish Water's 'Southern 2' region along with Carlow, Kilkenny and Waterford.
The Model County is to the fore in the race to install domestic water metres along with Fingal in North Dublin and Kerry.
The work is expected to start during August when the county's four principal towns – Gorey, Enniscorthy, New Ross and Wexford – will be first on the list.