Saturday 30 June 2007

Dublin facing water shortage disaster

DUBLIN could be faced with a severe water shortage by 2050. And as a result, the capital may have to resort to water privatisation.

According to Dr Conor Murphy, a geography lecturer at NUI Maynooth, the capital will be the worst affected by the impact of global warming.

At present, Dublin relies heavily on rainfall - or surface-based resources - for its water supply.

If there is a large scale reduction in rainfall, this could have serious implications for that supply.

"The water supply of Dublin City is very vulnerable to climate change," said Dr Murphy.

"By 2050 we expected to see a 35pc reduction in the amount of surface water available and a population increase of 2.5 million."

"Both factors will have serious implications for Dublin, which relies heavily on surface based resources."

According to a 2003 EPA report conducted by Dr John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth, decreases in river, lake and reservoir levels are likely to occur over the next decade.

The report also pointed to dramatic changes in the rainfall pattern and temperature.

Winter rainfall will increase by up to 10pc while summer rainfall will decrease by up to 40pc in parts of the south and east coasts.

However, according to Dublin City Council, plans to carry out a feasibility study will not be expected until mid 2008.

According Dr Murphy, a twin-track approach is needed to stop the crisis or we will have to resort to water privatisation.

"Population growth coupled with climate change means that if this situation continues there is a real threat of privatisation."

Patricia McDonagh
Irish Independent

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