Dublin City Council announced this week that it recommends harvesting raw water from Lough Derg to supply drinking water to the Dublin area.
However, many people in the midlands are vehemently opposed to the plan to extract water from the Shannon, which they fear could have significantly detrimental effects on water levels and the myriad of wildlife and pursuits dependent on the river.
One group, the Shannon Protection Alliance, have pledged to concertedly campaign until both Dublin City Council and the Minister for the Environment abandon what they see as potentially disastrous plans for Lough Derg and the River Shannon.
Dublin Council say they plan to carry out 'intensive monitoring' of water levels and water quality in Lough Derg as a prelude to moving forward on its controversial plan to extract water for the greater Dublin region.
Part of the plan involves storing and treating water in a proposed reservoir site at the Bord na Mona owned Garryhinch cutaway bog in county Offaly, which the council announced last week in compliance with EU regulations.
The plan sees water being treated at Garryhinch to drinking water standards before filling the reservoir, which would have the capacity to supply water to more than one-million people in the midlands and Dublin region and could eventually supply 50-percent of Ireland's water.
An initial application was made by Bord na Mona to An Bord Pleanala in August for consultations relating to infrastructure and over the next two years an environmental impact assessment and detailed planning application will be prepared for submission to the board.
Director of the project, Tom Leahy, said this week that he believes the plan is 'the best one for Ireland to provide a sustainable future water supply for the 10 counties along the route as well as to the greater Dublin area.'
'The water scheme - including the new midlands water-based eco-park and storage, is essential to provide security of supply and job creation - will no affect water levels on the Shannon and fully protects the environment,' Mr. Leahy said.
Monitoring equipment has already been installed in the river at Athlone to record water discharge and data collection equipment is to be installed at a number of other locations to gather long-term data on water levels.
Dublin City Council has sought consultations with an Bord Plenala with a view to lodging a planning application for the overall project in 18 months and processing the planning application could take up to two years.