Dublin is facing a building blackout as a result of serious multiple deficiencies in basic service infrastructure, a Sunday Independent planning investigation can reveal.
Such a ban would have dire consequences for the economy and employer's group IBEC has this weekend voiced "extreme concern" at the gravity of the situation.
The capital is severely hampered by sub-standard water and waste water capacity as a result of the rapid growth over the past decade, with city officials yesterday conceding the matter is "extremely delicate".
The Sunday Independent has discovered that many large-scale projects planned within the Dublin area are now in jeopardy because of the service deficiencies, and that these deficiencies may take up to a decade to remedy.
The supply of clean drinking water is the most critical issue facing the capital, and at present John Gormley's Department of the Environment and Dublin City Council are exploring the idea of taking water from the Shannon to meet the capital's needs.
However, if it were to go ahead, the Shannon option would not come on line until 2016 at the very earliest. There is also deep opposition to the plan in the Shannon region with concerns about the impact such a drain would have on the local environment.
If it doesn't go ahead, Dublin would have to resort to de-salination of sea water, but it is extremely expensive and would only be a last resort.
No matter what option is decided upon, there are no adequate short-term solutions to address the increasing water needs of Dublin's ever expanding population.
Assistant city manager Matt Twomey conceded that with regard to clean water, building bans are likely
"It all depends on the location, but some areas will be affected by bans if a solution to the water problem can't be sorted at some local point.
"The water situation is very delicately poised at the minute, but we are working on solving the issue long term."
Twomey also acknowledged that while the council is doing everything it can to facilitate development, there will be some pain in the coming months and years.
Dublin is also facing a crisis in dealing with increasing levels of waste water.
The Ringsend plant, which opened back in 2003, is already operating at capacity taking waste from the city, north county, south Dublin and parts of Meath. The council has said that to properly meet the future waste needs of Dublin a large scale coastal plant is required.
IBEC has responded this weekend by voicing its "extreme concern" at the serious lack of capacity in the greater Dublin area, saying that the shortfalls will be very damaging to the economy.
In a statement IBEC said: "IBEC is extremely concerned that capacity constraints for water supply and wastewater treatment in Dublin will negatively impact on the competitiveness of business.
"What is urgently required is a clear statement from local authorities outlining how they plan to ensure that capacity for this critical service is maintained, thus removing this worrying uncertainty," the statement read.
The likely building blackout follows a similar move in Sandyford by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county council after serious deficiencies in infrastructure came to light.
All major projects in the area (above the size of two residential houses) have been halted until the deficiencies can be addressed.
However, the Beacon Children's hospital did get a special exemption and has been allowed to proceed, following considerable lobbying of local politicians.
There has also been a halt on development in Kildare until 2011 as the Osberstown treatment plant is already at capacity and in need of expansion.