Business Users - An Opportunity to Reduce Water Utility Costs

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As the country transitions to a new Water Authority there is great uncertainty about the future cost of water for industry. As water charges for domestic users have been revised downwards, industry can expect water and wastewater costs to increase over the next five years as Irish Water will require additional revenue to fund necessary improvements in our water infrastructure. Currently water and wastewater charges for Irish industry are lower than many of our European neighbours. This is unlikely to have gone unnoticed.

Installing an independent groundwater supply protects the bottom line. Many Irish industries have an untapped groundwater resource lying beneath their site. Developing this asset into a private water supply can result in potentially large savings in utility costs. In Ireland less than 30% of water supplies are sourced from groundwater. Risk assessment of abstraction pressures on groundwater indicate that less than 1% of groundwater bodies (GWBs) in Ireland are currently known to be at risk of overabstraction,(EPA/RBD Co-ordinating Authorities, 2005). Our available resource is the envy of many European countries and one of the reasons why many international companies have located here.

Depending on the level of annual water usage by an industry, payback period for capital costs can be under 1 year. Outlined below are typical annual costs paid by non-domestic consumers for water and pay back periods for replacing/supplementing with groundwater sourced on their own sites.

Other advantages, apart from controlling utility costs, is availability of a consistent water quality and temperature and low operational costs.

Evaluations of groundwater resources present significant opportunities in Ireland but need thorough examination to ensure any potential risks and liabilities are carefully managed. AWNs' hydrogeologists have over 20 years in developing sustainable groundwater supplies for the private and public sector. Our service brings you from feasibility study through investigative drilling and testing to confirming the sustainable yield and quality to final delivery of a sustainable water supply.


About the Author:

Teri Hayes is a former President of the Irish Group of the Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) and is a professional member of the Institute of Geologists of Ireland. Her specialist areas of expertise are water resource management, contaminated land assessment, eco-hydrogeology and environmental impact assessment. Teri has a Masters in Hydrogeology and an honours degree in Geology. She has over 20 years of experience managing a wide range of environmental projects for public and private clients. 


Ref: EPA/RBD Coordinating Authorities (2005) "Article 5 Risk Assessment" - The Characterisation and Analysis of Ireland's River Basin Districts in accordance with Section 7(2 & 3) of the European Communities (Water Policy) Regulations 2003 (SI 722 of 2003) National Summary Report (Ireland). 156 pp.


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