The Vartry Water Supply Scheme was originally constructed by Dublin Corporation in the 1860s and includes a water treatment plant, two reservoirs, a 4km tunnel under Callowhill and 40km of trunk mains that deliver water to storage reservoirs at Stillorgan in Dublin. Regarded as a significant engineering feat for its time, the scheme vastly improved sanitation and helped reduce outbreaks of typhus, cholera, and other water-related diseases.
The original Vartry Water Supply Scheme still provides drinking water to approximately 15% of the Greater Dublin Area. Tunnel, however, is in a bad state of repair and will be replaced by the new pipeline which will secure the water supply.
Irish Water, the national water utility responsible for providing and developing water services throughout Ireland, was established in 2013 and tasked with responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the scheme, including:
- Constructing a new Water Treatment Plant on the site of the existing plant at Vartry.
- Constructing a 4km pipeline to secure the transfer of treated water from Vartry to Callowhill pumping station.
- Decommissioning the existing Water Treatment Plant.
- Decommissioning the Vartry tunnel to allow for remediation works to be carried out.
- Replacing ageing pipes and fittings within the dam of the Vartry Reservoir.
- Improvements to the Vartry dam spillway to allow for more intense rainfall events resulting in larger spills from the reservoir to ensure public safety.
Wicklow County Council has just granted Irish Water planning permission to construct a new water pipeline and supplemental structures for the transfer of treated drinking water from Vartry to Callowhill.
The new pipeline is set to secure the long-term water supply to south Dublin and north Wicklow as well as to ensure the Vartry Water Supply Scheme continues to meet all drinking water standards.
Treated water from Vartry will supply the most densely populated areas, from Wicklow through to south Dublin, serving in excess of 200,000 people.
The proposed works will include:
- A new pumping station at the existing Vartry Water Treatment Plant
- Four kilometres of buried pipeline from Vartry to Callowhill
- A break pressure tank and a hydropower turbine at Callowhill to recover renewable energy from the pumped water.
This project is part of a €200M investment in the scheme that will secure the drinking water supply for the area for decades to come.