An environmental expert has urged local industry to reduce monthly utility bills by capitalising on groundwater resources. Speaking at the Environment Ireland Conference in Dublin this week, Teri Hayes, an environmental director at international consultancy WYG, said: “Even with investment in unaccounted for water over the coming year, local shortages in water supply are likely. Increased development of groundwater resources is a ready sustainable solution. For industry users, with water charges appearing to be rising year on year, with no available competition and no price regulation it is imperative that an alternative resource is considered.”
The average increase in rates across Local Authorities in Ireland is estimated to be between 7% and 21%.
She added: “A resource that is readily available to Local Authorities and which is a sustainable source is groundwater. Investment in resource assessment within River Basin Districts is advised to allow full assessment of this resource. Groundwater is a major natural resource in Ireland providing between 20-25 per cent of drinking water supplies. Our huge groundwater resources are fairly undeveloped and could be an attraction to many water using industries. The utilisation of groundwater in Ireland is far less than other European countries where groundwater supplies account for 60 per cent to 99 per cent of drinking water in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Portugal.”
There are many advantages of using groundwater, including: no Local Authority meter charge or rationing of supply; low running costs; no planning requirements; consistent water quality and temperature; the ability to manage your own resource and the potential for geothermal use.
When compared to annual water rates, it is clear that the capital investment in developing a groundwater source can be recovered within a very short period of time – and have a payback period of less than six months.
In its sixth year, the Environment Ireland Conference is organised in association with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and looks at the practical aspects of further developing key areas of the green economy: one of which is investing in water, wastewater and waste infrastructure.