Irish Water opens state-of-the-art new water treatment plant in Vartry

A critical milestone in the delivery of a safe, secure and sustainable water supply for the Greater Dublin Area has been reached with the completion by Irish Water of a major upgrade to the historic VartryWater Supply Scheme.

A new state-of-the art water treatment plant was opened by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien, TD and the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council Shay Cullen, along with Irish Water’s Managing Director Niall Gleeson.

The Vartry Water Supply Scheme or “The Vartry” was originally constructed in the 1860s. A major feat of engineering for its time, the scheme was developed by Dublin Corporation to provide a safe and reliable drinking water supply to the Dublin region and helped to reduce outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera.

Over 150 years on and “The Vartry” remains an integral part of the water supply for the Greater Dublin Area, supplying more than 200,000 people in Dublin and North Wicklow. The scheme was in urgent need of improvement and was listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL), which identifies water supplies that are in need of improvement to comply with drinking water regulations.

The delivery of this new Water Treatment Plant by Irish Water will facilitate the removal from the RAL of the seven water supply zones linked to Vartry, and will secure the water supply for much of the highly populated North Wicklow and South Dublin area for the coming decades.

The completion of the new water treatment plant marks the culmination of a total investment of €150 million in the upgrade of the Vartry Water Supply Scheme, which also delivered the replacement of the old Vartry to Callowhill tunnel and the construction of a new covered reservoir in Stillorgan.

Speaking at an event to mark the introduction of water into supply from the new Vartry plant, Niall Gleeson, Managing Director of Irish Water, said: “Providing safe, secure water supplies for all our customers is a top priority for Irish Water. We are delighted to have completed this project on time and within budget and, most importantly, we have delivered what is a critical improvement to the quality, resilience and robustness of the water supply for over 200,000 people in North Wicklow and Dublin as well as helping to safeguard the supply for the entire region.

“The new plant will build on the legacy of ‘The Vartry’, and will ensure that this scheme continues its proud history of safeguarding the water supply for this highly populated and rapidly growing part of the country. We would like to thank the local community for their patience and support as we carried out this essential work, as well as our delivery partners in Dublin City Council, Veolia Ireland and Nicholas O’Dwyer Ltd.”

Opening the new treatment plant, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien said: “This is a critical milestone in securing the water supply for the Greater Dublin Area into the coming decades. Vartry has supplied generations with water for over 150 years, and the completion of this project means that current and future generations will benefit from a high quality, safe, secure and reliable water supply. It also means we now have a robust infrastructure in place to support the delivery of housing and wider economic and social development.

“Housing for All, our new Plan for Housing in Ireland, clearly acknowledges that housing cannot be delivered without the supporting services infrastructure. Government investment in water services, primarily through Irish Water, will support the delivery of Housing for All and in turn, the objectives of Housing for All will inform future waterinvestment planning. I’d like to commend Irish Water on this historic project,” he concluded.

Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Shay Cullen, also welcomed the completion of the project. “The Vartryscheme supplies a large area stretching from Roundwood, through north Wicklow and into south Dublin, so we will all benefit from the successful completion of these upgrades. This is a great example of collaboration between IrishWater and local authorities in Wicklow and Dublin. I am delighted to be here on what is an historic day for Vartry.”

As part of the upgrade, Irish Water has also committed to releasing sustainable freshwater flows to the Vartry River which is important to safeguard the ecology of the river, particularly in times of drought. This is the first time in the 150 year operation of the plant that such a guarantee is in place.

Irish Water is responsible for the delivery of all public water and wastewater services in Ireland. We are committed to continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure to support the growth needed in housing and across our economy, while protecting the environment and safeguarding water supplies.