Almost half a million people are being served by an 'at risk' drinking water supply.
That's an increase of nearly 100,000 people on the previous year, according to the latest report into public drinking water supplies from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 481,000 people are currently served by “at-risk” supplies, up from 374,000 in 2021.
It found the overall quality of the water network is extremely high, with 99.7% of samples compliant with bacterial and chemical limits.
In 2022, boil water notices impacted 182,000 people, which the EPA says is a slight improvement since 2021. One third of boil water notices were in place for more than 30 days.
In a statement, the EPA says it recognises the challenges boil water notices pose to individuals and communities, but they are essential to safeguard public health.
"The risk of boil water notices on some supplies will remain until Uisce Éireann takes proactive measures to address the underlying causes and improve the resilience of these supplies".
Over 99.7% of public water supplies comply with bacterial and chemical limits, meaning that our public water is safe to drink.
However, 481,000 people across Ireland are currently served by ‘at-risk’ water supplies: https://t.co/7frDcurbQa #water #drinkingwater pic.twitter.com/IJqa3CKU97
— EPA Ireland (@EPAIreland) August 1, 2023
Launching the report, Dr Tom Ryan, EPA Director said water quality in Ireland remains very high.
“Our public water quality remains very high, which means that the public can be confident that the drinking water supplied to their homes is safe to drink.
"Uisce Éireann has made good progress in delivering necessary new drinking water infrastructure such as the new plant at Lee Road in Cork which now supplies high quality drinking water to 97,000 people.
"However, the EPA through our inspection and monitoring programme, continues to identify drinking water plants that are at risk and require improvements and upgrades.
"At the end of 2022, there were 481,000 people being served by at risk supplies on EPA’s Remedial Action List.
"Uisce Éireann needs to prioritise investment in those plants to improve the resilience of drinking supplies, to provide a safe and secure supply into the future.”