We live in a country which has abundant supplies of rainfall. The Emerald Isle is famous for its lush green environment. However, particularly in the east of the country demand for water is growing to levels which are hard to meet. Supplies taken from rivers and groundwater in Dublin and surrounding counties has almost reached maximum levels. Wicklow supplies a large part of the water for Dublin as well as water for the county. There is little room to expand water supply with existing resources in the county. Treating water also uses energy and resources that are costly in economic and environmental terms. In the future we will need to be more water wise as we develop looking for more growth with less water.
Wicklow Water – Where does it come from?
Wicklow County Council purchases water from Dublin City Council to serve the East of Wicklow from Bray down to and including Wicklow Town. Outside the Dublin region water is provided via 32 public schemes, Group Water Schemes and private wells. Water Conservation Project commenced in 2000 with a two-man team working full time on locating leaks. The Wicklow Water Conservation Project, covering the 32 Public Schemes in the rest of the county began in 2005.
How much water do we use?
Average daily water consumption per person
- Shower = 35 litres
- W.C. = 27 litres
- Laundry Wash = 40 litres
- Hand wash = 12 litres
- Teeth Brushing = 12 litres
- Dish wash = 10 litres
- Cooking = 10 litres
- Drinking = 2 litres
- Total = 148 litres
On average, each of use use about 148 litres of water per day. That means that each of us use the same as a hundred bottles of water per day.
On average, Wicklow County Council purchases a total of 21000 m³ per day The daily production from the 32 schemes in the south and west of the county at the present is 10586 m³ per day. The maintenance of all the schemes costs on average 6 Million euros per year. At present, it costs 1 euro to treat 1 m³ of water.
The water in our taps comes at an environmental cost. Energy is used to pump the water through the system from source to tap and indeed at the other end of the process as it is collected and brought through the waste treatment process. As well as the energy we use chemicals in the process of treatment. When extracting water from sources we need to take account of environmental impacts of extracting the water.
Ground water can be depleted if it is taken out faster than it can refill. Minimum levels must be maintained in order to protect biodiversity and other uses of rivers.
Water is not inexhaustible. With the growing global population (2 billion more by 2025), the need for water is increasing.
What does Water conservation exactly mean?
Water conservation refers to reducing the use of fresh water, through technological or social methods. The goals of water conservation efforts include:
- Sustainability - To ensure availability for future generations, the withdrawal of fresh water from an ecosystem should not exceed its natural replacement rate.
- Energy conservation - Water pumping, delivery, and wastewater treatment facilities consume a significant amount of energy.
- Habitat conservation - Minimising human water use helps to preserve fresh water habitats for local wildlife and migrating waterfowl.