Waterford tourism industry reaps benefits from €24m water treatment programme
Waterford’s clean coastline and waterways has been a major factor in people choosing the Déise as part of their staycation. So say Waterford City and County Council who have overseen a €24 million, six-year water treatment upgrade programme.
Working in partnership with Irish Water, the council has managed to eliminate the discharge of raw sewage through the construction of new wastewater infrastructure along the coast and within the county.
The council said the works have have improved water quality in the county’s rivers and lakes, safeguarding human and environmental health while protecting marine life. The works also ensured compliance with European and national regulatory standards.
But it wasn’t always that way. In 2014, raw sewage from the equivalent of 12,000 people was being discharged from Waterford into the sea every day, impacting on tourism and the environment.
There are still issues in the Suir estuary, however, as sewage is still entering the water in the Nore and the Barrow. Work on tackling these issues is due to start next year with a new wastewater treatment facility being built to serve Arthurstown, Ballyhack and Duncannon in county Wexford.
Michael Tinsley, Wastewater Portfolio Delivery Manager for Irish Water said: “The investment of €24 million delivered seven new wastewater treatment plants in towns and villages across county Waterford. including Ardmore, Ballyduff/Kilmeadan, Cappoquin, Dunmore East, Kilmacthomas, Stradbally and Tallow.
“Although Covid-19 has restricted business this year, there is no doubt that these locations are well positioned by way of wastewater infrastructure to plan for the future,” Mr Tinsley added.
2018 was a record year for tourism in Waterford, with 797,000 tourists flocking to the city and county, generating €163 million in revenue.
Orna Holohan, Tourism Officer with Waterford City and County Council said she the works have helped the industry immensely.
“Almost 90% of international tourists consider an unspoilt natural environment and beautiful scenery important when choosing a holiday destination,” Ms Holohan added.
“The pristine coastline of Waterford, which includes five Blue Flag beaches, six Green Coast sites and many more hidden gems, is an invaluable tourism asset for the county. Recent improvements in water treatment ensured Ardmore attained Blue Flag status and that further holiday homes and tourism infrastructure could be built in our picturesque towns and villages.”