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05/05/20 Irish Water - hallenges facing public water infrastructure during Engineers Week

Irish Water Engineers Week

Panel of industry experts who attended a screening of the Story of Water in Letterkenny IT this week as part of Engineers Week 2020 were Mary O’Hara, Irish Water; Jim Bonner, Donegal County Council; Martin Temple, Eamon Doherty and Denise McManus, Irish Water; and Noreen Durning and Mary Carr, lecturers in Letterkenny IT.


Irish Water staff in the North West region took part in a series of events to promote engineering during Engineers Week which took place from February 29 to March 6 2020.

Engineers Week is co-ordinated by Engineers Ireland to encourage students, their teachers and parents to explore the world of engineering and possibly consider a career in one of the varied engineering disciplines. 

Irish Water employs over 800 staff across the country in a variety of disciplines including engineering, environment, science, health and safety, HR, finance, legal, planning and communications with more than 120 staff working out of the regional offices in Donegal, Cavan and Castlebar.


Research commissioned by Irish Water and conducted by B&A indicates that 44 per cent of the Irish public admit they ‘know nothing or not very much’ about the work carried out by Irish Water and almost 80 per cent of those surveyed say that they are interested in hearing about water services and ongoing and future plans.


In response to this, Irish Water revealed the full story behind the challenges facing the public water and wastewater network during Engineers Week by showing a new documentary, The Story of Water, to Engineering and Science students in Letterkenny IT on Monday. The event was followed by a lively Q&A session with industry experts from Irish Water and Donegal County Council taking part.


The documentary forms part of what will be an on-going public information programme to help people understand the role that water plays in our daily lives, its value and complex lifecycle, and the process of getting water and wastewater through the public network. It includes insights on the increasing impact of climate change; why in a country like Ireland water conservation is becoming increasingly critical; how rain becomes drinking water and the damage that is caused when people flush inappropriate items down the toilet; and the work Irish Water is doing to protect the environment, fix the network and support economic development.


The Story of Water is a key output of Irish Water’s ongoing programme of public education and awareness, which includes water conservation awareness campaigns, leakage awareness campaigns, a partnership with Clean Coasts on Think Before You Flush and sponsorship of the water theme of the An Taisce Green-Schools programme.


Commenting, Anthony Skeffington, Irish Water’s Asset Operations Manager said: “We are delighted to be supporting Engineers Week 2020. It is a wonderful initiative to highlight the key role engineers play in our world and to encourage young people to consider exciting careers in engineering and related fields.


“The public are telling us that they want to understand more about their water and where it comes from and they have told us that they want us to do a better job of communicating with them. Consumers hear from us when we are managing outages and incidents affecting their water supply and when we have issues with sewage blockages or overflows, but we have never shared the wider story about public water and wastewater services in Ireland, the size and scale of the challenge and the technical expertise required across the industry, including our local authority partners, to deliver clean, safe drinking water for a modern growing economy. There is massive investment going into water and wastewater infrastructure. It will take time to resolve the challenges and we are making progress.”


The Story of Water features international and local contributors including experts from the water industry, engineers, environmental scientists, ecologists, regular water users, sports people, local authority staff and Irish Water employees and Irish Water’s regulators.  


The Story of Water is available to view at

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